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Vikes sweep Hart

Hot bats hold off the Indians’ multiple comeback attempts

Posted: April 24, 2009 9:45 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.

 
In a league where any team can beat any team on any given day, a Foothill League sweep is extremely valuable.

A sweep of the defending champs is priceless.

Valencia completed a sweep of Hart Friday with a 10-8 win at home, while maintaining its chase of first place West Ranch.

“To get a sweep against Hart is huge for us,” said Valencia outfielder and pitcher Dylan Jones. “This is a big day for us because this was a major goal for our program. We wanted this real bad.”

Valencia showed its desire off the bat as shortstop Christian Lopes hit a lead-off homer to give Valencia the lead in the bottom of the first, and Jones hit a two-run jack after Hart starter Josh Wagner walked Kyle Eaton.

The first five Valencia batters reached and scored as the Vikings (14-6, 7-2) built their 5-0 lead, but Hart (10-9-1, 4-5) answered with a four spot in the second on a solo shot by Devin Rodriguez and a three-run bomb from J.T. Barnes.

“The wind created home run situations,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “We were able to capitalize on that, and I thought we put out a good effort today. I have no beef with how we played today.”

Valencia answered Hart’s outburst with a run in the bottom half of the second, which head coach Jared Snyder saw as a key to the Vikings victory.

“Every time they came at us, we were able to answer,” Snyder said. “We didn’t always push across as many runs they did, but we were able to hold them off because we didn’t give in.”

Hart again cut the lead to a run in the fourth on a Spenser Souza solo homer, but again Valencia answered.

The Vikings sent eight men to the plate in the bottom half of the inning, scoring three runs to push the cushion back to four.

“We really swung the bats today,” Snyder said. “Our kids just kept pushing and executing. I’m really proud of how positive they stayed, and how well they played in the field. We played mistake-free baseball.”

Valencia played an error-free game, while Hart made a pair of boots.

Hart again cut into the Valencia lead in the fifth when Rodriguez and Souza both hit their second home runs of the game, but Valencia answered with a solo dinger from third baseman Trey Williams in the sixth.

The run proved to be valuable as Hart’s first four batters reached in the seventh, leaving the bases loaded for Jones, who came on in relief for winning pitcher Kyle Eaton, who worked 2 1/3 innings.

Eaton struck out Kyle Henningfield, and then induced a double play from Barnes to seal the victory.

“Dylan is an animal,” Snyder said. “He wants the ball in those kinds of situations, and we haven’t had too many close games this year so it’s nice to know we have a guy that can come through in those situations. Any kind of sweep is big, but this one is really nice for us.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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