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Valencia baseball caps a big week with win

Posted: April 18, 2014 10:13 p.m.
Updated: April 18, 2014 10:13 p.m.

Valencia shortstop Keston Hiura slides into home during the third inning against West Ranch on Friday at Valencia High School. It was one of three runs scored by Hiura as Valencia won the game 4-2.

 

Valencia Vikings baseball may end up looking back at this week as a jumping-off point toward a big finish in the Foothill League.

The Vikings went into the week in the middle of the pack in league play and they finished a game out of first place following a 4-2 win over West Ranch on Friday at Valencia High.

The win gives Valencia (11-7 overall, 5-2 Foothill League) the two-games-to-one edge in a pivotal series over the defending league champion West Ranch Wildcats (11-7, 4-3).

Valencia, which also beat West Ranch 7-6 on Wednesday, is now tied with Saugus for second and right behind Hart for the league lead after winning its fifth straight league contest.

“That was a big one for us,” said Valencia senior Keston Hiura. “We came into (this week) knowing we needed to win both of these games.”

Hiura hit a solo home run and scored three times on a 3-for-4 day at the plate.

His day helped back up a strong two-pitcher combination for the Vikings with reliever Andrew Hodges picking up the win.

He came in for starter Dylan Thomas in the third inning with runners on second and third and, for the most part, shut down the Wildcats the rest of the way. Hodges allowed two hits and a walk while striking out one in 4 1/3 innings of work.

“We knew we had a reliever that had the ability to come in and close out the game like that, so I wasn’t afraid to make the change,” said Valencia interim head coach Mike Killinger of the pitching substitution.

Though Hodge gave up the two-RBI single to West Ranch’s Davis LeBarron in the third, both runs were credited to Thomas.

It was an otherwise quiet day for the Wildcats’ offense.

“The story of the day was Hodges coming in and shutting us down,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “I thought his side-arm delivery was something we didn’t really have an answer to.”

The Vikings scratched across one run in the first, third, fourth and sixth inning off a total of eight hits.

Anthony Lepre was 2-for-4 with for Valencia and he drove in runs with singles in the first and third innings off Wildcats starter A.J. West.

Chad Bible walked with the bases loaded to give Valencia the go-ahead run in the fourth. Hiura’s insurance home run came in the sixth.

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