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Hart and Valencia dead even

Posted: April 17, 2008 3:34 a.m.
Updated: June 18, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Hart High starter Mike Montgomery delivers a pitch during the bottom of the sixth inning. The Indians won the game 1-0 over Valencia at Valencia High wednesday afternoon.

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For all the drama that had unfolded in the seventh inning of Hart against Valencia in a Foothill League baseball game Tuesday, the final pitch turned out to be the least dramatic.

It was a simple fastball from Hart's Trevor Bauer on the outside part of the plate for a called third strike, leaving two Vikings on base and giving Hart (13-5, 7-1) a 1-0 win over their first place rivals at Valencia High.

"We knew, to get where we want to go this season, we were going to have to win today," said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. "And, they came out here pumped up."

From the first inning it became apparent that the team to make the first mistake would likely end up on the losing side of the box score.

With two errors, and one leading to the only Hart run of the game, it was Valencia (13-5, 7-1) that slipped up one time too many.

The last time the two teams met, it was Valencia who had the upper hand, winning 5-1 at Hart.

"We knew after last game that we had to play perfect to beat these guys," said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder. "They played perfect and we almost did."

It was as perfect as start as either team could have hoped for as both starting pitchers commanded the flow of the game with Josh Corrales shutting down the Indian lineup and Mike Montgomery setting down the Vikings' hitters one at a time, retiring the first nine he faced.

While both pitchers threw well enough to win, it was the defense behind Montgomery that kept Valencia off the board.
"This is the best defense we have played all year," Montgomery said. "We came in pumped up and I knew we would make the plays to win."

On the mound Montgomery used every pitch in his arsenal to keep the Vikings off the basepaths, finishing after 6 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking just two.

"I thought he (Montgomery) was excellent," Ozella said. "Last game they got to him but today he got ahead in the counts and controlled the tempo of the game."

Corrales matched Montgomery inning for inning but was let down by his defense in the decisive sixth inning by the Hart offense.

Tyler Eyrich led off the inning with a grounder to shortstop, that instead of being an out, turned into a two-base error when shortstop Christian Lopes misplayed the ball and then threw it into the dugout.

Three batters later, Hart had runners at the corners and Trevor Matern at the plate.

On Corrales' second pitch of the at-bat, Matern drove in the game's lone run hitting a ball just past the shortstop plating Susdorf from third, who originally got on base by a fielders choice.

"I just saw a good inside pitch I could turn on and I drove it into the hole to give us enough time to score the run," Matern said.

The ball rolled into shallow left and gave Matern plenty of time to beat out the throw, allowing Susdorf to score, which was all the run support the Hart pitchers would need.

"I said game over to myself," Montgomery said of when the run crossed. "Once we got that run we had the momentum and I knew we would make the plays to win."

Valencia, however, wouldn't go down quietly.

After keeping Valenica at bay all game, Montgomery let up a single to Tommy Ferndino, followed by a nine pitch walk to Travis Amerian with one out in the seventh, ending his day two outs shy of a complete game.

Bauer then came on in relief.

"I felt confident (of Bauer finishing the game)," Montgomery said. "He told me before the game that he had my back if anything happened. If anyone was going to go out there I would want it to be him."

Bauer then got a huge lift from the defense when catcher Bryan Lucas made a diving catch of a foul ball to put two outs on the board.

That set the stage for Bauer's final pitch.

"I just love the pressure situations. It is my favorite position; you just have to hit your spots," Bauer said.

With two outs and two on, Bauer used three straight fastballs to finish off RJ Mundell and give Hart a dramatic 1-0 victory.

Now, both teams will regroup and head into the rubber match of their season series on Friday at Hart High.

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