Birmingham rallies to defeat Granada Hills 5-4 in West Valley League baseball

Vince Cervantes of Birmingham slides in safely before Granada Hills catcher Will White receives the throw at home.
(Craig Weston)

The two veteran catchers during Tuesday night’s West Valley League game between Birmingham and Granada Hills probably wanted to find a hole to hide in. There were 10 wild pitches or passed balls between Alex Olvera and Will White on a windy night in Lake Balboa. It was uncharacteristic, but the pitchers were going all out in a pressure-filled atmosphere.

“It was tough,” Birmingham coach Matt Mowry said.

Birmingham (12-5, 2-0) used a wild pitch after a strikeout in the fifth inning to score the tiebreaking run and secure a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Granada Hills (13-3-1, 2-1) in a game that featured the top two baseball teams in the City Section. Granada Hills was limited to one hit. Ricardo Martinez threw three hitless and scoreless innings of relief for Birmingham.

Earlier in the day, the City Section upheld a protest by Birmingham from last week’s 3-0 loss to Chatsworth. The umpire ruled a Chatsworth batter used an illegal bat but failed to call out the batter. That game will now likely have to be continued from the bottom of the third with Chatsworth ahead 1-0 if it matters to the league standings.

Birmingham rallied from a 4-1 deficit against Granada Hills with three runs in the fourth. The tying run was driven in on a pinch-hit RBI double from Richard Barrera. Granada Hills was without ace pitcher Drew Gustafson, who missed the game because of illness. Birmingham committed three errors in the first three innings. Both teams seemed tight playing under the lights before a large crowd.


Perhaps the best play of the game came from second baseman Gavin Taylor of Birmingham in the top of the sixth inning with two outs and the potential tying run at second. Brandon Garfinkel hit what looked like was going to be a an RBI single up the middle. Taylor somehow got to the ball, then threw a bullet to first base to retire a frustrated Garfinkel for the final out.

“We’ve seen him make unbelievable plays all season,” Mowry said.

The two teams will play a final league game Thursday at Granada Hills.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 4, Loyola 3: Anthony Reveles homered in the top of the 10th inning, his third hit of the day, to help the first-place Knights win the Mission League game. Junior Oliver Boone came on to throw seven innings of one-hit relief for Notre Dame while striking out eight. Joey Frey struck out seven in seven innings for Loyola.

Chaminade 6, Crespi 2: Tyler Garcia, Nolan Mowry and Matthew Churchill each had two hits for Chaminade.

Calabasas 7, Westlake 1: Sophomore Jordan Kingston threw a complete game and sophomore Nate Castellon went three for three to lead the Coyotes.

Oaks Christian 11, Thousand Oaks 8: The Lions won the Marmonte League game.

Moorpark 3, Simi Valley 2: Jake Thrift and Zach Serup combined on a four-hitter for Moorpark.

Mission Viejo 7, Tesoro 6: Andreas Nilsen hit a dramatic three-run walk-off home run in the seventh inning to give Mission Viejo the South Coast League victory. Tesoro dropped to 16-2 and 3-1.

Agoura 2, Newbury Park 1: Myles Kallinger drove in both runs during a walk-off victory in the eighth inning for Agoura.

Bishop Amat 13, St. John Bosco 0: The Lancers advanced to the semifinals of the National Classic. Jordan Pasillas had four RBIs.

El Dorado 3, Gahr 2: Evan Rolbiecki hit a three-run home run to power El Dorado.

Santa Margarita 4, San Dimas 3: The Eagles advanced to the National Classic semifinals. Blake Wilson got the save and had two RBIs.

Unbeaten Oaks Christian overtakes Villa Park for No. 1 in CalHi Sports’ top 20 high school softball rankings in Southern California.

West Ranch 3, Palos Verdes 1: Caden Deck struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings for West Ranch.

El Modena 3, Laguna Beach 1: Spencer Jacobs had two RBIs for El Modena.

Edison 7, Fountain Valley 5: Noah Stockman had two hits and four RBIs for Edison.

Esperanza 8, Beckman 7: Ryan Kirk had the walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh for Esperanza. Aston Kanegae had two doubles for Beckman.

Sierra Canyon 10, Crescenta Valley 0: Eddie Mgdesyan struck out eight to help Sierra Canyon improve to 19-0. Max Martin had four RBIs, and Jaden Noot homered.

Arcadia 3, Redondo Union 0: Ian Hoffstetter threw the shutout to improve to 7-1. He struck out six. Alex Dolan had three hits


Esperanza 3, Villa Park 0: The Spartans continue to struggle without injured pitcher Sydney Somerndike. Brooke Perez threw a three-hit shutout for Esperanza.