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Kennedy Lags at First, but Wins Second Title

Baseball: Poly takes 3-0 lead but Golden Cougars rally to repeat as City champions.

May 30, 1996|MICHAEL LAZARUS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Kennedy High's second consecutive City Section title didn't come with the precision the Golden Cougars have come to expect.

In fact, the first inning was pretty much a catastrophe for Kennedy.

But the game turned on a four-run outburst in the fifth inning and the top-seeded Golden Cougars went on to a 5-4 victory over second-seeded Poly before 4,000 at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night to win its fifth 4-A Division title since 1981.

Poly has never won a City baseball title.

In three playoff games, Kennedy pitchers had allowed a total of four hits. Twelve pitches into the bottom of the first inning, Derek Morse (15-0) had allowed three.

"We were confident at the beginning," said Poly's Steve Guerrero, who had two hits. "Ever since the playoffs started we've been hammering the ball."

Compounding matters were errors by catcher David Lusk and right fielder Fernando Centeno on the first two Parrot batters, helping Poly to a 3-0 lead.

"I figured we were in for a war," Kennedy Coach Manny Alvarado said. "But there has been a lot of pressure on this team and they handled it well. They showed it today. A lesser team would have folded."

Kennedy (31-3) had just one big inning of offense but it was enough. After trimming a 3-1 lead by a run, the Golden Cougars scored three runs on reliever Jerry Heredia's first three pitches of the fifth to take a 5-3 lead.

Aldo Pinto had a two-run double and David Soto followed with a single to give the Golden Cougars just enough of a cushion.

Poly threatened in the sixth, getting consecutive singles by Guerrero and Adrian Perez, putting runners on first and third with none out. But Poly (27-6-1) scored only once when Abel Salazar hit into a double play and Alfredo Flores grounded back to Morse.

In the seventh, Gus Banuelos led off with a single over the glove of second baseman Mike Ramirez.

Pinch-runner Levyn Polanco was sacrificed to second but Morse struck out Gonzalo Gomez and Lucas LaTouf to clinch the title.

Guerrero (8-2) had good command in the early innings, getting the first four Kennedy batters on ground balls.

Kennedy broke through in the fourth on singles by Pinto and Soto and Jon Garland's sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.

Guerrero tired in the fifth, giving up a single by Lusk, a walk to Josh Miranda and an RBI single by Centeno before being lifted with a 3-2 lead.

Morse held the Parrots to five hits in the final six innings.

"I was staying down the middle of the plate, trying to get a feel of things," Morse said. "It wasn't working but I knew we'd pull it out. I knew we would do it again."

Morse, the winning pitcher in last year's title game, finished with eight strikeouts and no walks.

Kennedy's defense took three Parrots off the base paths.

Lusk threw out LaTouf trying to steal second to end the second.

In the third, Lusk caught Perez in a rundown between second and third to end the inning.

Flores was out at home in the fourth trying to score from first on a double by Banuelos that would have given Poly a 4-1 lead.

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City Section Baseball Champions

4-A (Major) Division

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Year Champion Winning Coach Runner-up 1939 Fremont Les Haserot 1940 Dorsey Sid Witherow 1941 Dorsey Sid Witherow 1942 Fremont Les Haserot 1943 Fremont Les Haserot 1944 Washington Frank Darrow 1945 Dorsey Bud Brubaker 1946 Fremont Les Haserot 1947 Fremont Les Haserot 1948 Fremont Les Haserot 1949 Fairfax Frank Shaffer 1950 Dorsey Bud Brubaker 1951 Washington Bob White 1952 Garfield Bob Holmes 1953 Wilson Ron Pearson 1954 Dorsey Bud Brubaker 1955 South Gate Gus Gerson 1956 Garfield Bob Holmes 1957 N. Hollywood John Trump 1958 Dorsey Art Mazmanian 1959 Van Nuys Jim McConnaughy 1960 South Gate Cliff Ditto 1961 Banning Jim Galceran 1962 Washington Bob White 1963 Fremont Phil Pote 1964 Birmingham Bob Zuber 1965 Cleveland Dave Preciado 1966 Birmingham Hy Cohen 1967 Venice Bob Duron 1968 Gardena S. Loughborough 1969 Birmingham Hy Cohen 1970 Wilson Augie Lambert 1971 Monroe Denny Holt 1972 Venice Art Harris 1973 Sylmar Fred Scott Kennedy 1974 Monroe Denny Holt Taft 1975 Granada Hills Darryl Stroh Westchester 1976 Granada Hills Darryl Stroh Monroe 1977 Cleveland Dave Preciado Carson 1978 Granada Hills Darryl Stroh Poly 1979 Granada Hills Darryl Stroh Crenshaw 1980 Sylmar Denny Thompson North Hollywood 1981 Kennedy Don Tamburro Banning 1982 Cleveland Leo Castro Palisades 1983 Chatsworth Bob Lofrano Sylmar 1984 Granada Hills Darryl Stroh El Camino Real 1985 Kennedy Dick Whitney Banning 1986 Grant Tom Lucero Granada Hills 1987 Canoga Park Doug MacKenzie Poly 1988 Monroe Kevin Campbell San Fernando 1989 Kennedy Manny Alvarado Palisades 1990 Chatsworth Tom Meusborn El Camino Real 1991 S. Fernando Steve Marden Banning 1992 San Pedro Jerry Lovarov Poly 1993 El Cam. Real Mike Maio Chatsworth 1994 El Cam. Real Mike Maio Chatsworth 1995 Kennedy Manny Alvarado Carson 1996 Poly Chuck Schwal Kennedy

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