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Hart's turn again

Posted: April 19, 2008 2:15 a.m.
Updated: June 20, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Hart center fielder Trevor Brown carefully crafted out an answer as to what two Hart wins this week against previously Foothill League first-place Valencia meant.

He paused, then with caution said: "I don't think it means we're the favorite. It just puts us in a good position. Hopefully we stay ahead."

Hopefully was the perfect restrained word.

The Foothill League favorite tag has been passed around like a relentless flu.

Hart defeated Valencia Friday 13-3 at Bud Murray Field, taking both games against the Vikings this week.

The season started with Saugus, now tied for second place, as the title favorite, followed by Hart, then Valencia, now Hart again.

Indians head coach Jim Ozella was equally cautious in describing how good this team, his ninth at Hart, can be.

"Wait until the end of the season," he said.

But he added: "We're getting better. I told them, 'Right now, we're reaching our running speed.'"

The Indians (14-5, 8-1) managed to win the game without junior phenom Trevor Bauer's best stuff.

The right-hander came into the game with a minuscule 0.20 ERA, but was touched up early.

A bloop single by Matt Higgins in the first scored a pair to put Valencia up 2-0.

Jenzen Torres, the Indians powerful third baseman, replied though.

Dropped to the No. 8 spot in the lineup because of inconsistency, Ozella said, Torres lined a Robbie Mouselli pitch into the parking lot past right-center field for a two-run homer.

The Vikings (13-6, 7-2) and Indians then traded solo shots in the third - one from Valencia's Christian Lopes, the other from Hart's Bryan Lucas - to knot the score up at three.

Hart broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, though, with an eight-run inning.

The Indians sent 13 batters to the plate and managed six hits.

"It felt like it's still going right now," Mouselli said.

He added: "We're lacking in confidence with the defense."

Valencia had an adventurous inning in the field.

Second baseman Taylor Dingman was late to first base covering on a bunt.

It loaded the bases. Two sacrifice flies later, Hart had a 5-3 lead.

Devin Rodriguez then doubled to plate two more.

A pair of errors prolonged the inning.

Brown made it to the plate twice, his second at-bat being an RBI single.

He was 3-for-4 in the game.

An error by Lopes on a Torres grounder gave the Indians an 11-3 lead.

They added runs in the fifth - on an RBI single by Lucas - and the sixth - on a groundout by Tyler Eyrich.

Bauer went six innings, striking out six, walking three, allowing six hits and three earned runs.

Valencia couldn't squeeze out any more opportunities after the third inning.

Mouselli went 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven earned runs.

He came into the game with a 1.61 ERA in league games.

The senior couldn't be bailed out Friday.

Bauer was.

"I told the guys there'd be situations where we're going to have to bail our pitchers out. Pitching has been bailing us out all year. Today was the day," Ozella said.

Hart now plays a streaking Saugus twice next week.

The Centurions have won seven straight league games since losing their first two.

A pair of wins will put the Cents in first place.

If they want it.

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