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Foothill changeup?

West Ranch baseball beats perennial power Valencia for first time ever

Posted: April 2, 2009 1:22 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch players congratulate teammate Casey Watkins, far left, after he hit a home run against Valencia Wednesday at West Ranch.

 
It’s too early to call anything a changing of the guard, but West Ranch baseball defeating Valencia 7-1 at home Wednesday definitely carries some kind of weight.

With five Foothill League championships this decade, Valencia has been the class of the area.

West Ranch had never beaten the Vikings in six tries until Wednesday.

“I’m obviously proud of the boys to beat a team we don’t traditionally beat,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill.

West Ranch (7-2, 3-1) has to take a lot of pride in the way it defeated Valencia (5-4, 2-2).

The first pitch of the game was socked over the center field fence by Valencia shortstop Christian Lopes.

But three-year varsity pitcher Trevor Fredrickson kept the Vikings off the board for the rest of the game.

He pitched a complete game, surrendering five hits and four walks while striking out nine.

After the Lopes homer, he struck out the side in the first inning.

“I just laughed it off,” Fredrickson said of the home run.

Valencia was in no such mood, especially after the game as the Vikings met in shallow right field for nearly a half-hour.

Other than Lopes’ home run and R.J. Mundell’s two hits, the Vikings didn’t have many positives.

“I asked my players if they wanted to make the playoffs,” Valencia head coach Jared Snyder said of the post-game meeting. “We have a lot of holes. We’re not tough mentally.”

He was quick to compliment West Ranch, though.

“West Ranch is the team to beat,” he said. “They’re better than us right now.”

But Valencia has been two teams this year.

In four losses, the Vikings have scored two runs. In five wins, they’ve scored 58 runs.

West Ranch was the team with the offense Wednesday.

The Wildcats hit two home runs in the game, and a second-inning two-run blast by Casey Watkins gave them a 2-1 lead.

“Right then, when we grabbed that lead, the game was in our hands,” Fredrickson said.

Shortstop Cal Vogelsang wrapped up the scoring with a two-run homer in the fourth, giving the Wildcats a 7-1 advantage.

The top of West Ranch’s order was a major key for it in the game.

Vogelsang was 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the No. 2 slot.

His RBI double in the second topped off a three-run inning for the Wildcats and gave them a 5-1 lead.

Leadoff batter Nico Rusconi went 3-for-4, reaching base in all four plate appearances.

After four games, West Ranch and Saugus have stepped forward as the league’s strongest teams, but not by much.

If they are the strongest teams, that makes Hart and Valencia’s three matchups this season very interesting because those teams are also perceived to be playoff contenders.

Those teams meet on Friday.

West Ranch plays an improved Golden Valley team to wrap up the first round of league play.

cosborne@the-signal.com

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