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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

Pitcher Henry Baker delivers title to Agoura

Left-hander strikes out nine in a 2-1 victory over Simi Valley that clinches the Marmonte League championship for the Chargers.

May 07, 2013|Eric Sondheimer

Henry Baker, the standout left-handed pitcher from Agoura High who wears uniform No. 32 in honor of Sandy Koufax ("It's the Jewish lefty thing — you got to represent"), did all he could to deliver a Marmonte League championship Tuesday at Agoura.

Baker struck out nine, walked one and gave up four hits in Agoura's 2-1 victory over Simi Valley, allowing the Chargers (20-9, 11-3) to repeat as league champions.

"It was everything we needed from our ace pitcher," catcher Albee Weiss said.

It was a strange last eight days for everyone involved, but Baker, in particular, was feeling "extraterrestrial sources" at work, as he put it.

On May 1, he threw five innings and struck out 11, but Agoura couldn't hold on to a 2-0 lead and lost to Simi Valley, 3-2. He pitched even though he was still mourning the death of his grandfather the previous day.

On Friday, Agoura was scheduled to play Simi Valley for the league title and played two innings before smoke from the Camarillo Springs brush fire forced the game to be postponed. On Monday, rain forced another postponement, and that allowed Agoura to come back with Baker on the mound.

"To face that kid twice in five days ... he's pretty darn good," Simi Valley Coach Matt La Belle said.

Said Baker: "It was pretty crazy. It was definitely an abnormal way to come into a game."

He ended up striking out 20 Simi Valley batters in 12 innings over the last two games.

On Tuesday, Agoura scored its runs in the first inning against Spencer Dubaich. Tyler Cohen and Weiss each had run-scoring singles. Wyatt Hogan hit a home run against Baker in the second.

Simi Valley (14-13, 9-5) finishes in a three-way tie for second with Moorpark and Thousand Oaks. Because of tiebreaking rules, Moorpark will be the No. 2 team for the playoffs. If Calabasas defeats Royal on Wednesday, Simi Valley will be No. 3 and Thousand Oaks No. 4. If Royal wins, Thousand Oaks will be No. 3 and Simi Valley No. 4.

Agoura, which started the season ranked No. 1 by The Times, will now prepare for the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Baker, who signed with Washington, will be a key figure.

"We're fighters," Baker said. "We'll just ride the wave, play our brand of baseball and see where it takes us."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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