Although Sylmar pitcher Olonzo Woodfin insisted that his arm was fine, his coach, John Klitsner, suspected otherwise.
"He may have been favoring his arm," said Klitsner after Woodfin gave up nine hits and seven earned runs in Sylmar's 7-6 loss to Grant on Thursday. "He lost quite a bit on his fastball. He wasn't sharp on his control. He was just average."
Woodfin, who entered the game with a 0.91 earned run average--the best among Valley City Section pitchers--was anything but brilliant. After Woodfin walked three batters in the fourth inning, Grant's Juan Doroteo hit a grand slam on an 0-and-2 pitch to give Grant a 6-3 lead.
Grant, which sealed the win in the sixth inning on David Waco's run-scoring single, improved its league record to 6-7. Sylmar, which has lost two games since upsetting Poly last Thursday, is 9-4 in league.
Klitsner, who has watched Woodfin (8-2) struggle with his tender arm since Easter, continued to express confidence in his ace.
"He's had a heck of a year," he said. "He's still the best I've got and I still have to go with him.
"We played really well. We made the plays. And if it wasn't for those three walks followed by that grand slam, we would have been in the game."
Grant junior David Jelmeland, who relieved starting pitcher Doroteo in the sixth inning, struck out the side in the seventh to record his second win of the season.
Shawn Fontenot hit two home runs for Sylmar.
At North Hollywood, Joey Speakes hit two home runs to lead Poly over North Hollywood, 8-4. Danny Spector was 3 for 4 for North Hollywood (7-6 in league). . . .
Junior left-hander Colin Hines pitched a two-hitter as the Kennedy High baseball team remained tied with Birmingham for first-place with a 5-0 win over Van Nuys.
Kennedy (12-5-1, 7-3 in league), which has won seven games in a row, had only four hits but capitalized on five errors by Van Nuys (1-9 in league).
In the first inning, Kevin Farlow was hit by a pitch, Jeff Burton walked and Gino Tagliaferri reached first on an error by shortstop Rick McDonald to load the bases for Kennedy. Farlow scored when first-baseman Matt Clancy made an error on a ground ball by Vladimir Pajcin. Pat DeBoer walked to score Burton.
Kennedy took advantage of another Van Nuys error in the fourth inning. Donald Williams walked, stole second, went to third on an error by catcher Jeff Engler and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ray Reynosa in the fourth inning.
Kennedy closed out its scoring in the fifth as Pajcin and Tagliaferri singled in runs.
At Monroe, Granada Hills pitchers Sean Brown and Chris Murphy walked seven batters in the first two innings as Monroe jumped out to a 6-0 lead on its way to an 11-10 win. Brown made his first pitching start of the season and walked the first three batters he faced. Murphy relieved Brown with a 3-1 count on the fourth batter.
Monroe scored seven unearned runs as Granada Hills committed three errors. "You get the walks and the errors and you're dead," Granada Hills Coach Darryl Stroh said. "The combination of the two is like drinking and driving.
Larry Kolb was 3 for 4 with 7 RBIs for Monroe (4-6 in league). Dean Yoshitani was 3 for 5 with a triple and a home run, and Kent Lowry was 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs for Granada Hills (5-5).
WEST VALLEY LEAGUE
Jim Wolf singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead El Camino Real (7-3) to an 11-10 win over Reseda. El Camino Real, trailing 7-3, took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with seven runs--four coming on Carl McFadden's grand slam. McFadden finished the game with three hits and six RBIs and Wolf was 3 for 3. Mike Vanacore and Kevin Ogle opened the game with home runs for Reseda (3-7). . . . Sophomore Mario Valencia allowed seven hits and drove in a run as Cleveland (7-7, 4-6 in league) scored a 4-2 victory over Taft (1-9 in league). Valencia, who had pitched to just seven batters entering the game, singled home Lance Mandel in a three-run sixth inning. Earlier in the inning, Mandel tripled in two runs.
Seth Ernsdorf had 12 strikeouts and pitched a four-hitter to lead Highland Hall past Clearview, 9-3. Aaron Rudelson was 4 for 4 with 1 RBI and Sage Kibbe was 3 for 4 with 2 doubles for Highland Hall (10-5, 4-0 in league). Highland Hall had 10 steals and has stolen 136 bases in 148 attempts this season.
With two outs in the eighth inning, freshman Avi Sistla singled in Robbie Heuer from third base to give Viewpoint an 8-7 win over Simi Lutheran at Viewpoint. Sistla pitched the final four innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight, to earn the win. Sistla has 65 strikeouts in 51 innings this season. Henry Brown was 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs for Simi Lutheran.