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Chatsworth Gets Last Word Against Talkative Royal, 4-2

High school baseball: Chancellors respond to dugout chatter by advancing to Westside tournament final.


SIMI VALLEY — Royal High baseball players are encouraged to maintain a steady volume of chatter in the dugout to try to rattle opponents.

But sometimes the tactic can backfire, as was the case Friday against Chatsworth, ranked No. 3 in the region by The Times.

Fed up with the Highlanders' catcalls, the Chancellors retaliated with their bats and gloves for a 4-2 victory in a Red Division semifinal of the Westside tournament at Royal.

Chatsworth (4-0) plays Sylmar (4-0) in the final at 2 p.m. today at Redondo High.

"That will fire any team up," center fielder Jared Halpert said of Royal's dugout antics. "We don't like to say much, but when it starts, we like to talk more with our bats."

No one inflicted more damage than Halpert, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound junior who started the season with a one-for-10 hitting slump. Against Royal (3-1), Halpert had two doubles and a single.

"It was nice to see him bust out like that," Coach Tom Meusborn said.

Halpert and Brian Lee broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning with run-scoring doubles.

Sophomore pitcher Justin Cassel struggled with his control, walking five in six innings. But he benefited from the play of Ryan Barba at shortstop and Gregg Wallis at second base. They turned four double plays to repeatedly save Cassel from being knocked out.

In the seventh, after walking the first two batters, Cassel was replaced by Sean Richards, who picked up a save when he got Chris Dusablon to fly out with the bases loaded for the final out.

"They're an aggressive team and it was an intense game," Meusborn said.

Said Cassel: "This was a playoff environment. Royal was loud. Next week, when we go to Carson and Kennedy, it should be the same thing. We're not one of the teams that's going to pop off, but we're not afraid."

As loud as Royal's players were, they've been muzzled somewhat under orders from the school administration to "tone it down," Coach Dan Maye said.

One Highlander performing at his best was junior right fielder Ryan Keys, who scored two runs and had a double and a single as the leadoff batter.

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