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Chatsworth Streak Is Halted by Garcia, 5-1

April 28, 2001|ERIC SONDHEIMER

Chatsworth High's 23-game winning streak came to an end Friday night, with more than 600 people filling Birmingham High's baseball stadium to see sophomore Junior Garcia limit the Chancellors to two hits in a 5-1 West Valley League victory for the Patriots.

"He threw the game of his life," Coach Rick Weber said of Garcia, who no-hit the Chancellors (23-1, 9-1 in league play) for 5 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking one.

Birmingham (16-8, 6-4) scored five runs and collected six of its eight hits in the first two innings off Justin Cassel (5-1).

Jose Carrillo hit a run-scoring double and Jose Avitia had a run-scoring single for the Patriots.

Garcia (6-3), who allowed an unearned run in the first, retired 10 consecutive batters between the third and sixth.

"I got ahead of hitters [Friday]," Garcia said. "It feels good. They're a great team, but it shows we can go up against the best."

Garcia was a Little League pitching phenom but has struggled at times in his first two years of high school.

This time, he had his change-up working to perfection and kept his fastball low and away from the hitters.

"[Friday], he became a pitcher," Weber said.

Added Chatsworth Coach Tom Meusborn: "He threw extremely well. I give him credit."

Chatsworth was ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the nation by Baseball America.

Chatsworth didn't get its first hit until Brian Lee beat out an infield grounder with two out in the sixth inning.

It was an impressive performance by a Birmingham team that blew a 5-0 lead on Tuesday against Chatsworth and lost, 6-5.

"It would have been real easy for our team to fold up after losing a five-run lead Tuesday," Weber said.

Birmingham is competing with Granada Hills (6-4), El Camino Real (4-6) and Cleveland (4-6) for a City Championship playoff berth from the West Valley League.

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