Chatsworth’s baseball team has become so accustomed to winning City Section championships at Dodger Stadium that its dog piles look perfectly choreographed, from pirouettes to crash landings.
“We’ve had some practice,” catcher Carlos Escobar Jr. said. “It’s what we want to do at the end of every year.”
The Chancellors had every reason to celebrate their latest championship performance on Saturday afternoon, getting a three-run home run from Escobar and a two-hit shutout from left-hander Mike Renner in a 9-0 victory over Reseda Cleveland.
It was Chatsworth’s ninth City title in baseball, eighth for Coach Tom Meusborn and sixth this decade, and it was the first time a team has won three in a row since Los Angeles Fremont in the 1940s.
“That was a great team effort,” Meusborn said. “From start to finish, the team was very focused.”
An eight-run fourth inning that saw 12 batters come to the plate and featured a leadoff double by Escobar and his three-run home run left top-seeded Cleveland (26-8) in shock. It came mostly against pitcher John Wilson (11-2), whose shoe fell apart earlier in the game and might have been an omen of things to come.
Chatsworth (30-4) had lots of contributors. Besides Escobar picking up three hits, Sean O’Connell had a pair of run-scoring singles and Derek Neely had a two-run single. Andy Weissberg had two singles.
“We just exploded,” Escobar said. “We feel so comfortable in this place. It’s like a second home to us, and it showed.”
It was Chatsworth’s seventh consecutive appearance at Dodger Stadium, and the familiarity no doubt helps the Chancellors. Their fielders provided strong support for Renner (10-2), who struck out four and walked one.
“It was a gutsy performance,” Cleveland Coach Greg Venger said of Renner. “He came out and was a gamer today. He did a fantastic job.”
It was a frustrating ending for a Cleveland team that beat out Chatsworth for the No. 1 seeding in the playoffs and had 13 seniors on its roster.
Two weeks ago, it was the Cavaliers who were the City title favorites after Chatsworth was upset by Woodland Hills Taft in its West Valley League finale. But that loss might have been a blessing in disguise for the Chancellors.
“It got our attention,” Meusborn said. “We realized if we come out that way again, our season is over.”
And so the Chancellors responded with three straight playoff wins to get back to Dodger Stadium, where they have played so well the last two seasons.
Long after the award ceremony was over, Chatsworth players gave Meusborn a Gatorade bath. It wasn’t as well-orchestrated as the dog pile. It’s something to work on for their next appearance.