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Valencia, Saugus baseball: Foothill stampede

The first-place Vikings survive a wild seventh inning comeback by the Centurions

Posted: April 2, 2010 10:20 p.m.
Updated: April 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Valencia catcher Alex Bishop slides into third base after hitting a three-run RBI triple in the second inning against Saugus at Valencia High on Friday.

Through 30 innings of Foothill League play, including the first two against Saugus on Friday, Valencia baseball appeared to be taking the same walk as last fall's Valencia football team - one of the cake variety.

Few know that better than the Vikings' All-CIF Southern Section quarterback and baseball team's catcher Alex Bishop.

But the last five innings of the Valencia-Saugus game at Valencia High proved there will be no walk of any kind through the Foothill.

Bishop delivered a game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning after making the final out at the plate in the top of the seventh to lead the Vikings to a 13-12 victory.

"I told them the truth. This was the worst defensive and pitching performance this season," said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder on what he told his team after the game. "Saugus absolutely didn't quit."

Valencia (8-2, 5-0) held leads of 9-3 and 12-8 in the game.

Up 12-8 going into the top of the seventh, Valencia gave the ball to hard throwing right-hander Shane Zeile.

But Zeile loaded the bases with the first three batters in the inning.

A passed ball scored one run, a sacrifice fly by Evan Steen plated another, then Matthew Emerson chopped a single over the second base bag, cutting the lead to 12-11.

With two out, Zeile faced Tylor Klipfel, who singled to right field.

On a do-or-die play, Valencia right fielder Kyle Eaton ran through the ball. It then rolled to the wall.

One run scored to tie the game, then Klipfel was waved in.
Valencia's Jake Roberge took the cutoff and threw to Bishop at the plate, who applied the tag, sending the game into the bottom of the seventh tied 12-12.

"That's where you've got to take a chance and make them play catch," said Saugus head coach John Maggiora.

Said Bishop: "One hundred things were going through my mind (on that play). We didn't even have the right cutoff."

But the play at the plate reversed the momentum onto Valencia's side.

"We were so pumped coming into the dugout," Bishop said. "But I can't believe we put ourselves in that situation."

Saugus pitcher Garrett Smith cooled Valencia in the fifth and sixth innings, but things changed in the seventh.

Valencia's Justin Hanks led off with a grounder to shortstop that Nick Lombardi mishandled.

After a sacrifice and two intentional walks, Bishop stood at the plate with the bases loaded.

He slapped the third pitch he saw into left field for the game winner.

Bishop was 3-for-5 in the game with four RBIs.

Included in that was a three-RBI triple in Valencia's six-run second inning.

The Vikings exited the second with a 9-3 lead.

That might have been the difference in the game for Saugus (8-4, 3-2).

Normally dependable pitchers Cameron Castillo and Tommy Kister fell apart in the second, allowing Valencia to grab the big lead.

Saugus went up 2-0 in the first inning, before surrendering three runs in the bottom of the first as

Eaton hit a two-run homer and Zeile hit a solo shot.

In the top of the second, Saugus' Justin Sheehan tied the game with a solo home run of his own.

In the third, the Centurions cut the lead to 9-7, the big hit in the inning coming off the bat of Lombardi, who singled in a pair of runs.

Lombardi was 4-for-5 in the game.

But Saugus' pitching wouldn't hold up.

Valencia's Trey Williams hit a tape-measure home run to left field in the third, giving the Vikes a 10-7 lead.

Sheehan singled in a run in the top of the fourth before

James Bonds doubled in two in the bottom half to give Valencia a 12-8 lead.

But it was a battle for Valencia and it's clear that the Foothill League won't be a walk, runaway or a two-horse race with Valencia and West Ranch.

It could be a wild stampede.


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