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Valencia proves itself at California Classic

Posted: July 21, 2013 9:17 p.m.
Updated: July 21, 2013 9:17 p.m.

Clovis West pitcher Jordan McAllaster, right, bobbles the ball as Valencia's Chris McCready scores a run in the second inning of game played during the California Classic baseball tournament at Valencia High School. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/For The Signal

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The Valencia Vikings did their part to help the six Southern California teams represent the bottom half of the Golden State well in the California Classic Elite Tournament.

After playing to a tie on Friday, the Vikings outscored their final three opponents 33-7, including an 8-2 win over Clovis West on Sunday at Valencia High School.

“I think we did well this weekend. It was a great way to finish the summer. We played some really good teams,” said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder, whose team finished 3-0-1 in four California Classic games.

Clovis West starting pitcher Jordan McAllaster did something in the first inning that no Bellarmine Prep pitcher did on Saturday — he retired Valencia’s Chad Bible and Keston Hiura, who went a combined 8-for-8 in Saturday’s game. McAllaster couldn’t, however, do the same to Valencia’s catcher Anthony Lepre.

Lepre hit a two-run homer with two outs in the first inning and the Vikings never looked back.

“McAllaster is really good. We took some really good approaches in the first couple innings to get to him and that was obviously the difference in the game for us,” Snyder said.

McAllaster looked out of rhythm after the home run and Valencia scored four more runs in the second on one hit, grouped with a walk, two hit batters and two of Clovis West’s five errors.

“You have to pitch and play defense and we didn’t do a very good job of that. Valencia is a very good team and they capitalized on our mistakes,” said Clovis West head coach Kevin Patrick.

Valencia starting pitcher Trent Ditello on the other hand, made few mistakes. The junior-to-be pitched six shutout innings, allowing only three hits and striking out five on 71 pitches.

In the process, Ditello may have eased Snyder’s mind even further regarding the replacement of graduated seniors J.D. Busfield and Luke Soroko, who threw almost 70 percent of the Vikings’ innings last season.

“We found some guys (this summer) who can go in and give us some quality innings,” Snyder said. “I don’t think it will be anything like last year where we had Busfield and Soroko going six or seven innings seemingly every game.”

Nevertheless, Ditello isn’t intimidated by the thought of filling those big shoes.

“They’re very good pitchers. I’m just trying to do the best I can. My velocity isn’t as high as theirs, but I know if I hit my spots and get ahead early (in the count) I can get people out,” Ditello said.

And if this weekend is any indication, Ditello and the young Valencia pitching staff should have plenty of room for error this spring, as the Viking offense looks like they’ll keep the scoreboard operator at Valencia High very busy.

Notes: The tournament’s other scores on Sunday were as follows: Alemany 5, Archbishop Mitty 4; Harvard-Westlake 7, Bellarmine 0; Moorpark 6, Buchanan 6; Simi Valley 5, Elk Grove 5 ... Alemany and Harvard-Westlake each ended up with a tournament-best 4-0 record.

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