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Hart wins VIBL showdown with Saugus

Indians claim victory in summer league championship game

Posted: July 30, 2013 10:49 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2013 10:49 p.m.
 

VAN NUYS — If it’s any consolation, Hart High baseball can call itself the 2013 Valley Invitational Baseball League champions.

The Indians defeated crosstown rival Saugus 8-4 on Tuesday night at Birmingham High School in the annual summer league’s title game.

This just two months after Hart was shut out of its first CIF-Southern Section playoff appearance since 1986.

“It’s awesome to finish the summer on a high note,” said Hart shortstop Nick Valaika. “Last season we stumbled a little bit. This is a good confidence builder. We know we can beat good teams.”

Valaika went 2-for-3 in the game with two RBIs, including a run-scoring single in the critical fourth inning.

Hart broke a 3-3 tie and scored four runs in the inning to go up 7-3.

Indian Chad Haslock, who was 3-for-3 in the game with a pair of RBIs and a walk, also knocked in a run in the inning.

The young Centurions got as close as 7-4 after a sacrifice fly by Caden Salkeld in the bottom of the fourth, but Indians pitchers Paul Richan and Sean Ward held Saugus scoreless in the final three innings.

Saugus led 3-1 after two innings following an RBI-single by Rex Kemple.

The Centurions use this as a confidence booster as well, having also missed the postseason in 2013.

“Our entire pitching staff, all seven are going to be 11th graders. Take this game out and we had quality starts all summer,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “When you look at the grand scheme of things, we played 22 games and we were good in 22 games.”

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