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VIBL: The familiar bats

Hart comes from behind to win with a lineup of mostly holdovers from 2012

Posted: July 18, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 18, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Hart's Luke Persico hits an RBI double in the sixth inning against Granada Hills on Tuesday at Hart High School during Valley Invitational Baseball League play. Persico had three hits and three RBIs in the game.

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Hart baseball will be expecting big things from Luke Persico next spring.


Maybe not quite as big as what he put together on Tuesday in a Valley Invitational Baseball League game.


Persico, who will be a senior, had three hits, three RBIs, three stolen bases and he was the winning pitcher in a wild 8-7 come-from-behind victory over Granada Hills at Hart High School.


C.J. Witkowski snuck a ground ball into center field to score Persico for a walk-off base hit to cap off a four-run rally in the seventh.


Earlier in the inning, Persico came in from center field to pitch, and he recorded the final two outs in his first appearance on the mound since his freshman year.


“He’s a serious vulture,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “Not only did he strike out the guy to get out of the inning, he comes up with the big hit.”


After Persico induced a flyout and recorded a strikeout to get out of the seventh, Hart (12-7 in VIBL play) came up in the bottom half of the inning trailing 7-4.


The rally began with back-to-back singles, a sacrifice and an RBI single by Pearson Good to score Chad Haslock.


Two batters later, Persico came up with the bases loaded, and proceeded to knock a two-RBI single through the middle to tie it up at 7-7 and set up Witkowski’s game-winner.


“We’ve got our returning lineup this year, and all those guys are hitting really well,” Persico said.


Hart played with a lineup that looked similar to the one it used for most of the 2012 season.


Returning seniors Baggio Saldivar, Persico and Witkoswki were the 3-4-5 hitters, and other returners like Wes Fitzpatrick and Cody Miller were involved.


Overall though, the Indians did damage from top to bottom.


“We’re looking for depth and we’re looking for people to fill in the gaps,” Ozella said. “We don’t care who’s in the lineup.”


The Indians got good production from the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters Haslock, a newcomer, and Joe Bilbo, a returning sophomore.


Those two hitters began the seventh-inning rally with singles off Granada Hills pitcher Mike Scoloro.


The Highlanders (7-11) initially took the lead with a six-run rally in the top of the seventh.


All six runs were credited to Hart’s Troy Gilbert, who walked three batters and hit two others in the frame.


Though the plan was to allow him to finish the inning, he left the game shortly after being hit in the leg by a line drive hit by Austin Dudley.


The ball ricocheted into left field and allowed two runs to score, giving Granada Hills a 6-4 lead.


The final run of the inning was scored on a sacrifice fly hit off Persico.


Hart completes its regular VIBL schedule on the road against Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks on Thursday, after which playoffs will begin on Saturday.
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