The intensity that is traditionally felt at a Kennedy-Granada Hills baseball game was fully evident Thursday when the schools met at Granada Hills for the first of three Mid-Valley League showdowns this season.
Inspirational banners hung from fences, there was verbal razzing and first place in league was at stake. The only thing missing was the usual execution of fundamentals that has made both schools perennial contenders in the City Section.
Granada Hills, ranked eighth in the Times Valley Top 10, made four errors and was unable to turn a double play in the top of the seventh inning in a 6-5 loss to Kennedy.
"That was a pretty sorry exhibition of baseball," Granada Hills Coach Darryl Stroh said. "This should be one of the better defensive teams we've had here. Right now, they're playing like one of the worst."
Said Kennedy Coach Dick Whitney: "It was kind of frustrating. We hit the ball and kind of played the game we like on offense, but it almost felt like we were going to give the game away."
Kennedy (3-2, 2-0 in league) had 16 hits against Granada Hills pitcher Jeff Adams, but the Golden Cougars still had to overcome their mistakes to win in their last at-bat.
The score was tied, 5-5, when Kennedy's Ray Reynosa, who had three hits, doubled to lead off the seventh inning. Craig Fleck ran for Reynosa and moved to third one out later on Tracy Raines' single.
Dain Turner, Kennedy's fleet-footed leadoff hitter, followed with a sharp grounder back to Adams, who made a nice stop then wheeled around to throw to second. Granada Hills shortstop Charlie Fowlks took the throw with Raines bearing down on him for one out, but Fowlks' throw to first was wide of the bag. Turner was safe, and Fleck scored the go-ahead run.
Kennedy pitcher Colin Hines retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to earn his first win. The junior left-hander gave up five hits and struck out three.
Jeff Royston had two hits for Granada Hills (1-1).
Kennedy made two errors.