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Baseball: West Valley League pitchers will be second to none

Winter baseball is about to begin, and good luck to teams taking on the pitchers from the West Valley League. There are so many returning pitchers that it's going to be very difficult in the City Section for opponents to beat any of the West Valley teams in the spring.

Let's start with Birmingham, the defending City Division I champs. Back are the City player of the year, Adrian Rodriguez, and playoff standout Jonathan Russomano. And look who just checked in _ junior Jon Escot, a transfer from Cleveland who if he becomes eligible could be a major contributor.

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Chatsworth, with Coach Tom Meusborn returning, has standouts Tommy Palomera, Josh Garcia, John Cashman and Niko Switalla.

El Camino Real has All-City left-hander Jeremy Polan and closer Jordan Berg, both juniors.

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Cleveland, which returns eight starters, has Ben Kaser, who shut out El Camino Real, 1-0, last season, plus sophomore Sam Villa.

Granada Hills has junior left-hander Chris Muphy, who just committed to California and is throwing close to 89 mph.

And Taft is set to unveil 6-foot-5 junior Ryan Shreve, a star from the junior varsity team who's going to join returnees Matthew Parent, Max Mehlbaum and Gordon Magruder.

In other words, good luck on figuring out who wins the league. All six teams made the playoffs last season.

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"It's a nightmare, but I think we fit right in with that nightmare," Cleveland Coach Scott Drootin said. "It will be the strongest West Valley League in years."

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