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Prep baseball: Supply of power

Valencia’s bats get best of West Ranch’s pitching

Posted: April 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s Brian Mundell arrives at second base after hitting a two-run double in the seventh to drive in the winning runs against West RAnch shortstop Justin Hovis (8) and the Wildcats on Wednesday at West Ranch High.

 

It was power vs. power — West Ranch baseball’s on the mound and Valencia’s at the plate.

Power won — Valencia’s.

Vikings catcher Brian Mundell hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh inning off Wildcats flamethrower Michael Silva to give Valencia a much-needed 5-3 win on Wednesday at West Ranch High.

“Heart’s pumping,” Mundell said about the situation. “Everyone wants to hit a home run in that situation, but if I get a bloop single or a home run, it doesn’t matter.”

With Loyola Marymount commit Silva pumping near 90s power, he could supply a lot of fuel for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo commit Mundell to go deep. Yet Mundell took a smart approach, just wanting to connect. He almost hit it out of the yard, though, as the ball caromed off the wall near the 375 feet sign in right-center field.

From there, it was the game’s real difference, West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill said, as Valencia relief pitcher Chris Gimenez induced a double play after an error and a fly out to end the game.

Gimenez went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and hitting a batter while striking out one.

He came in to bail out starter J.D. Busfield, who gave up a two-RBI single to Tyler Woldanski, who was 3-for-3 in the game, in the first inning and an RBI single to Jagger Rusconi in the second inning.

West Ranch’s only threat against Gimenez was in the third inning with runners on second and third, but Gimenez retired the final two batters in the inning to come out of it unscathed.

“I was just trying to stop the bleeding,” Gimenez said. “The game will take care of itself.”

The sidearmer baffled the Wildcats batters with a fastball, change-up, slider combination.

West Ranch starter Cody Bennett was providing his own confusion with his slingshot delivery, but Valencia threatened him throughout his tenure.

The Vikings scored with an RBI double by A.J. Balta in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, then cut West Ranch’s lead to 3-2 in the fourth off a Devon Davis RBI single.

Mundell’s fielder’s choice in the fifth inning tied the score 3-3 and knocked Bennett out of the game in favor of Silva.
Silva immediately came in and struck out Balta, then walked the high wire in the sixth, only to escape.

Valencia (12-6 overall, 5-3 Foothill League) wouldn’t allow him the same fortune in the seventh, as Trey Williams singled to lead off the inning, followed by a Keston Hiura single on a 1-2 count.

It set up Mundell’s heroics and it also put Valencia into a three-way tie for second-place with West Ranch (11-7-1, 5-3) and Saugus in the Foothill League standings.

Valencia started league play at 1-3 and head coach Jared Snyder said at the time his team’s hopes of winning a Foothill title were dead.

Have they changed?

“I don’t know. It’s hard to say,” he said as his team is now two games behind first-place Hart with seven league games to play.

He added the better indication would come with Friday’s game against West Ranch at Valencia High.

Burrill gets that same feeling.

“The rubber match is Friday,” he said. “They needed to win this game big time. We need Friday big time.”

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