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Prep baseball: Vikings down top lefty

Valencia bats jump on nationally-ranked Harvard-Westlake pitcher in final game of Easton Tournament

Posted: March 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Valencia baseball got its hitting issues corrected in a hurry.

Two days after being shut out at home by Alemany High, Valencia bounced back in a big way, beating one of the nation’s top pitchers on its way to an 11-4 win over Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood on Saturday in the final game of the Easton Tournament at Harvard-Westlake.

The Vikings (4-1) jumped all over Harvard-Westlake’s Max Fried, scoring seven runs and racking up 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings off the left-handed pitcher, who ESPNHS deemed as one of the top high school pitchers in the country.

“We challenged the boys to be more aggressive in the counts early and I think the big thing for us was we took way too many first-pitch stirkes against Alemany,” said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder of his team’s 1-0 loss on Thursday. “We got ourselves in a hole, and today I think the guys did a good job not getting themselves in pitcher’s counts.”

Shortstop Trey Williams went 3-for-4 in the game with a home run and two RBIs for Valencia, and teammate A.J. Balta turned in a six-RBI, 4-for-5 performance at the plate.

Vikings hitters had little trouble against a barrage of fastballs from Fried, which ranged from 91-93 mph.

“They had nothing to lose,” Snyder said. “You’re facing one of the best lefties in the country and they knew it, and I think they took it as a challenge.”

Several other Valencia hitters contributed in the scoring onsalught, including catcher Brian Mundell, who went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs.

Devon Davis, Anthony Lepre and Keston Hiura also recorded multiple hits for the Vikings, who tallied 18 hits on the day and didn’t commit an error against the Wolverines (4-1).

Once Valencia chased Fried out of the game, it opened up a five-run fourth inning which allowed it to pull away.
At that point, Valencia led 10-2.

Starting pitcher Luke Soroko earned the win for Valencia. He pitched through four innings and allowed two runs off six hits while striking out four. Connor Chase finished the job in relief, tossing the next three innings and surrendering two runs off three hits.

Valencia won four out of five games in the tournament.

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