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Hart’s season is wrapped into one game

The Indians baseball team has a back-and-forth battle to end an up-and-down season

Posted: May 19, 2009 9:53 p.m.
Updated: May 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Hart baseball’s season came to a close Tuesday in a game that was a microcosm of a year of near-misses.

The Indians fell to Camarillo on the road 7-6 in a CIF-Southern Section Division I wild card game, finishing a season that saw Hart suffer several narrow defeats and squander large leads.

Mike Erb of Camarillo (16-11) drove home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh with a sacrifice fly off of Hart reliever C.J. Millar.

The game was close throughout with neither team capable of maintaining a lead for long.

“We had our opportunities,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “We had chances to run them out of the ball game or to take control, but we just didn’t execute or take advantage.”

The Indians (14-12-1) jumped out early, putting together a two-run inning to grab a 2-1 lead, but the Scorpions came back to even the score before a three-run fifth put Camarillo ahead.

Andy Yingling highlighted the big inning for the Scorpions with a two-run homer.

Hart answered back with a three-run inning of its own, keyed by a two-run single by Pat Valaika. Valaika also came around to score the tying run on a throwing error in the top of the sixth.

Camarillo answered again with a run off of Millar in the bottom half of the inning to make it a 6-5 game.

Hart evened the score in the top of the seventh with another run, but Kevin Minjares came in to extinguish Hart’s rally, getting the final two outs of the frame, including a strikeout of Jeremy Villalovos to shut down the Indians.

In the bottom of the seventh, Millar surrendered a double and two walks to load the bases with one out and Erb at the plate.

Erb had already flown out three times on the day, but his fourth fly ball proved to be the deciding point of the contest as his shot to center fielder Daniel Dietz plated the deciding run.

The Indians were led by a three-hit day from Valaika and a home run from Devin Rodriguez. Valaika also had a double and knocked in three runs.

The win was the first of the year for Minjares, and the loss was the first for Millar as an up-and-down season for the Indians came to a close.

“I told our guys that this was a pretty typical representation of how our year went,” Ozella said. “We had our bright spots, but the inconsistencies that we have had hurt us again. Today was no departure from how we have played.”


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