Chatsworth turns up the intensity to defeat Birmingham 3-0 in West Valley opener

Chatsworth left-hander Josh Pollack pitches against Birmingham.
Chatsworth left-hander Josh Pollack threw six scoreless innings in a victory over Birmingham.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Standing on one side of the plate was the diminutive Marcus Alvarado of Chatsworth. Staring down at him was 6-foot Matt Mowry of Birmingham. The two head coaches were almost nose to nose in the bottom of the third inning on Tuesday in a West Valley League baseball opener. They were caught up in the passion and intensity of the moment.

Mowry had just filed a protest with the umpire for an illegal bat. The bat was thrown out, but the umpire didn’t call the batter out, as the rule states, allowing a run to score. A fiery Alvarado wasn’t happy with the delay. Suddenly fans were roaring loudly. And players were watching with bemusement.

“That was crazy,” Chatsworth pitcher Josh Pollack said. “It kind of fired me up knowing my coach had my back. I liked the intensity.”

Birmingham probably would have won the protest, but it didn’t matter in the end. The Patriots never could figure out how to score against Pollack, a senior left-hander who threw six scoreless innings in Chatsworth’s 3-0 victory. He struck out six and walked five.

Almost every move Alvarado made worked to perfection. It was his idea to start Pollack so that ace Jose Ruedas would be available in relief. Ruedas came on in the seventh to get the save. The Chancellors (10-5, 1-0) also executed twice on bunts, both by Dom Camas. His bunt single set up an RBI single from Barry Menjivar. Camas’ sacrifice led to another run on a wild pitch.

Adding to the Chancellors’ success was that each of its three outfielders — Camas in right field, Richard Arce in center and Ryan Herrera in left — made tough catches of fly balls.


The game was indicative of how competitive West Valley League baseball continues to be. Alvarado played at Granada Hills Kennedy for his father, Manny, then became head coach at Kennedy. He had great rivalry games in the Valley Mission League with Sylmar and San Fernando. But the West Valley is at a different level.

“Every day you have to have a perfect day to win in the West Valley,” Alvarado said.

Afterward, Alvarado and Mowry shook hands. It was round one in what is expected to be one intense league game after another.

“It was a dogfight,” Pollack said.

In other West Valley openers, Granada Hills defeated Cleveland 4-1 and El Camino Real beat Taft 10-6.

The Highlanders scored four runs in the sixth to wipe out a 1-0 deficit and hand a rare defeat to Cleveland’s Braden Lowe. Brandon Garfinkel struck out four in two shutout innings of relief.

El Camino Real’s Edward Madera had a home run and two RBIs.

In the Marine League, San Pedro defeated Carson 2-0. Zack Geiss struck out nine while throwing a four-hitter. Narbonne defeated Banning 11-1. Rob Atencio threw a three-hitter.

Players from Santa Ana, Leuzinger, St. John Bosco, Oaks Christian make impact during a weekend football camp.