VALLEY PAC-8 CONFERENCE
Once again, the strength of the conference lies in the East Valley League, where North Hollywood, Sylmar and Poly all will be factors. The Huskies last year won their first league title since 1959 and return the best middle infield in All-City second baseman Ismael Rangsiyawong (.466, 13 home runs) and shortstop Jerrit Redlich. Jose Avila has was an all-league selection the past two years. But the Huskies, who last week lost to Westlake, 13-2, and Thousand Oaks, 11-0, need pitching. . . . Poly, City Section runner-up in 1996, rebuilt last year and returns six starters, including top-notch senior second baseman Sal Trujillo and sophomore first baseman-outfielder Manny Flores. Both can pitch and will be joinfreshman Abraham Gonzalez and junior Carlos Reguengo on the staff. . . . Sylmar is young but has the second-best pitcher in the conference in junior Ivan Hernandez, who was 5-2. Sylmar won its first four games in the Westside tournament before losing to Chatsworth. . . . Monroe should be the Mid-Valley League's best, mostly because of senior John Ennis (7-4, 2.50 ERA, 93 strikeouts), the best pitching prospect in the region. But it's still not a guaranteed victory every time he pitches. The Vikings last week tied St. Francis with Ennis on the mound. . . . Reseda won the league last year but the Regents are still a mystery. Reseda played its first game Monday against Sylmar.