San Fernando Coach Armando Gomez walked to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning of the City Section Division I championship game at Dodger Stadium to have a quick talk with his starting pitcher, Jose Reyes.
"Believe, believe, believe. My coach just told me to believe," Reyes said.
Reyes gave up consecutive singles to start the inning, then got three consecutive outs, the last of which was a force play at second that triggered a celebratory dog pile and completed an 8-6 victory over top-seeded Chatsworth.
"We just believed in ourselves every game," shortstop Isaac Dominguez said. "That was our No. 1 word — 'believe.'"
Gomez, in his 15th season, denied Chatsworth a chance to win its 10th City title and won the first for San Fernando since 1991.
"I'm very exhausted," he said. "It was a battle all the way. I'm feeling really good right now to finally get the monkey off our back and get it done. Hopefully, now we get some respect."
Chatsworth (24-6) scored two runs in the first, taking advantage of a botched run-down play and a steal of home by Aaron Brown.
San Fernando got consecutive singles by Reyes, Kevin Martinez and James An to start the second inning off Chatsworth ace Angel Rodriguez. A balk by Rodriguez and a squeeze bunt by Robert Berumen helped the Tigers take a 3-2 lead.
Then came a disastrous third inning for Chatsworth. Coach Tom Meusborn pulled Rodriguez after he hit David Garcia to start the inning. Brown came in from center field and walked the next two batters to load the bases. Then Reyes got an RBI single. After Brown issued another walk, he was replaced by Christian Lopez, who threw away a pickoff attempt to allow two runs to score. Soon, San Fernando led, 8-2, and was feeling good.
But Chatsworth rallied in the bottom of the third behind Steven Karkenny, who finished with four singles. Karkenny drove in one run and scored on a Brown triple. Raul Camas followed with another triple, and it was 8-5.
Reyes (5-2), San Fernando's No. 2 pitcher, kept his composure and regained his form to finish the game, scattering nine hits while striking out seven and walking two. He was the only pitcher San Fernando could turn to because its ace, David Lira, threw 10 innings in a semifinal victory.
"Him and Lira, I love those two guys," Gomez said. "They're gamers."