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Getting it done

Posted: March 29, 2008 2:40 a.m.
Updated: May 30, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Valencia pitcher Robbie Mouselli delivers a pitch on Friday at Bud Murray Field against Hart. Mouselli pitched a complete-game victory.

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With what Valencia baseball has and what Hart has this season, it was a must that the Vikings play more strategic, fundamental baseball to defeat the Indians.

What they got was perfect execution.

Behind pinpoint control from starting pitcher Robbie Mouselli, an aggressive gameplan and flawless defense, the no-longer surprising Vikings defeated Hart 5-1 Friday at Bud Murray Field.

"We knew we had nothing to lose," Mouselli said. "If we lost, we did what we're supposed to do."

Valencia (8-3, 5-0) is now the only undefeated team in the Foothill League.

How they've done it has been surprising, though.

Having knocked off two higher-regarded teams in first Saugus and now Hart shows that the Vikings belong at the top of the Foothill one-third of the way through the season.

"We're not going to win a shootout. We want to win the low-scoring games," said Vikings head coach Jared Snyder.

Valencia lacks the power, both on the mound and at the plate, that it's had in years past. But fundamental baseball has given the Vikings the upper-hand so far.

Knowing Mouselli doesn't blow batters away, the goal was to allow the Valencia defense to work behind him.

Mouselli came into the game as the less-heralded pitcher, but out-dueled the Cal State Fullerton-bound and possible Major League Baseball draft pick Michael Montgomery by inducing ground balls.

Hart hit into double plays in the third, fourth and seventh innings.

"I think it's confidence," Mouselli said of being effective. "Talent's God-given, confidence is what you need to succeed."

Mouselli pitched a complete game, allowing 10 hits, walking one batter and striking out three.

The Indians scored their lone run in the sixth inning on a fielder's choice by Bryan Lucas.

As for Montgomery, the Hart left-hander found neither rhythm nor control.

But it was Valencia's game-plan of pressuring him early that threw him off.

Knowing how stingy Montgomery could be, the Vikings pressed the Indians when they reached base,
It started with a single by Travis Amerian in the first inning.

The senior took second base when right fielder Jason Rehhaut couldn't short-hop the hit.

Amerian then stole third base and later came around on an infield single by Dylan Jones.

Amerian stole a school-record five bases in the game.

"We had to put pressure on them," Amerian said.

Montgomery continued to have problems with location, but worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning.

In the third inning, Valencia's Matt Higgins fouled off four straight pitches before parking one into the parking lot behind the left field fence for a solo home run, putting the Vikings up 2-0.

Montgomery exited after 3 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and walking five. He threw 93 pitches.

"They did a good job of getting our pitchers out of their comfort level," said Hart head coach Jim Ozella.

Montgomery left two on in the top of the fourth, including Amerian on third base after he swiped second and third.

He would score on the first pitch delivered by reliever Ben Nicewicz - a wild pitch - to put Valencia up 3-0.

Nicewicz dug his own hole in the sixth, walking Christian Lopes then advancing him to third base after two errant pickoff attempts.

A wild pitch would bring in Valencia's fourth run.

Three batters later, Dylan Jones hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Tyler Eyrich to put Valencia up 5-0.

The win now thrusts Valencia into the limelight as the top team in the Foothill League.

"Don't ask me how," Snyder said jokingly as to how Valencia has done it.

The bottom line is, they've done it.

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