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Hart puts on scorefest

Indians cross plate 22 times to advance to VIBL quarterfinals

Posted: July 23, 2008 1:41 a.m.
Updated: September 23, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Hart sophomore pitcher Garrett Gooding throws during a Valley Invitational Baseball League game against Saugus on Tuesday at Hart High. Gooding went 5 and 2/3 innings, giving up four runs in a 22-10 win.

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A chorus of aluminum bats cascaded through the summer air Tuesday at Hart High's Bud Murray Field.

When Game 3 of the Valley Invitational Baseball League (VIBL) second-round series between Hart and Saugus was done, the Indians produced enough sound to fulfill a symphony.

Ping!

Hart cranked out 21 hits and scored 14 combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings to come out on the big end of a football-like score of 22-10.

Ping, ping!

With the win, Hart (18-7 including playoffs) hosts Harvard-Westlake on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Pitcher Josh Wagner will start that contest.

"I was happy with our offense," Hart head coach Jim Ozella said. "We can put some runs on the board, if we're disciplined and locked in."

Top-to-bottom, the Indians' lineup smacked hit after hit off all four of the Centurions' pitchers.

Pat Valaika's two-run double was part of a four-run second inning that put Hart comfortably ahead, 6-1.

Valaika tore an offering by reliever Tommy Kister to deep left-center, which was followed by Devin Rodriguez's RBI double.

Valaika went 2-for-2 with three runs batted in and four runs. Spenser Souza went 2-for-3 with four RBI.

"We did a good job scoring runs," said Valaika, the younger brother of Cincinnati Reds prospect Chris Valaika. "I'm very surprised at how we're doing. A lot of guys are stepping up."

Hart starting pitcher Garret Gooding, a left-hander who was on the freshman team last season, picked up the win. The sophomore-to-be allowed just two runs after five innings, and he threw 5 2/3 innings, allowed four runs, struck out four and walked three.

"In the beginning I hit my spots," Godding said. "I didn't leave anything high. I got some curves in there."
Saugus (12-13) trailed 22-4 after six innings and did not go down without a fight, scoring six in the top half of the seventh.

"We were down, so we were just hacking," said Zach Vincej, who hit a two-RBI single in the inning. "We were trying to put together a good effort. We wanted to go into next season with some good momentum. We wanted to go out with a bang."

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