In a battle between the two top baseball teams in the Western League this season, Westchester High School was overpowered offensively and lost 8-2 at home to league leader Palisades High School Friday, May 13th.
The Westchester Comets and the Palisades Dolphins met for the third time this year in the last game of the regular season to see which team would take the league throne.
In the end, Palisades (18-5, 14-1) maintained its first-place standing and won the league championship, while Westchester (18-13, 11-4) had to settle for a second-place finish.
With the second-place standing in the Western League, the Comets earned the 15th seed in the Los Angeles City Section Championship Division playoffs, which began this week.
Westchester had challenged Palisades for the league crown throughout the season, but the Dolphins ended up with the edge after the Comets grabbed their only victory over Palisades in a 6-5 win April 27th.
Palisades came in to the final game of the regular season eager to prove it was the top team in the league and got off to an early start on offense. The Dolphins took advantage of a Westchester fielding error at first base in the first inning and scored two runs after a hit by senior starting pitcher David Bromberg.
But the Westchester offense also got out to an early start as the Comets evened the score at 2-2 in their first at-bat.
Senior Chris Valencia gave the Comets their first score with an RBI (run batted in) and junior centerfielder D’arby Myers hit a double to send the tying run home.
It was the only inning where Westchester managed to get any runs, and the Palisades offense went on a scoring roll in the third inning by grabbing five runs to take control of the game.
Senior Dylan Cohen ignited the offensive attack for Palisades early in the third inning with an RBI triple. Bromberg continued the Dolphins’ hitting rally with an RBI double to center field for a 4-2 lead. Freshman Garrett Champion drove in three more runs with an RBI double that put Palisades comfortably ahead.
Westchester switched pitchers from senior starter Andrew Plotkin to sophomore Mario Gallardo, who ended the inning with one of his four strikeouts in the game.
Gallardo continued to provide some defensive pressure for Westchester in the fourth inning and helped keep the Dolphins scoreless.
The Comets were in position to narrow the Palisades lead after loading the bases on a walk by Valencia, but Westchester continued to struggle sending any runners home.
Palisades did not show any signs of slowing down on offense and picked up another big hit in the sixth inning with an RBI triple by senior Monte Doebel-Hickock for a six-run lead.
Palisades finished with nine hits in the game to five hits for Westchester.