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Valencia Vikings baseball reverses course in win

Valencia starter J.D. Busfield settles after rough first inning

Posted: March 13, 2013 9:53 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2013 9:53 p.m.

Three fastballs, three home runs.

The Valencia Vikings baseball team found itself down three runs right off the bat to an underdog Golden Valley Grizzlies team that, by all accounts, is supposed to be competitive in 2013 Foothill League play.

But Vikings’ pitcher J.D. Busfield settled down from there and the Valencia offense came to life in the fifth inning in a 10-3 Valencia victory in both teams’ Foothill League opener at Valencia High School on Wednesday.

“I came out too excited, too pumped up for the game,” Busfield said. “I had to focus and I knew if I hit my spot I’d be fine.”

He found his composure quickly, though, as did Golden Valley starting pitcher Josh Baldacci after the Vikings (5-1 overall, 1-0 Foothill League) roughed him up in the bottom half of the first to tie the score at 3-3.

Things remained even until the fifth, when the Vikings’ offense came back to life.

With two outs and no one on, Keston Hiura and Chad Bible singled to set up a two-RBI double by Kyle Sanchez to the center field wall that proved to be the game-winner.

“I was not trying to do too much,” said Sanchez, who was 3-for-3 with three RBIs and a walk, of the hit. “Take the same approach and drive it hard.”

Too that point, Baldacci had matched, if not bested, Busfield, setting down 13 of the previous 14 batters before Hiura reached in the fifth.

“That’s baseball. (Baldacci) did a heck of a job,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin. “I felt bad for him ... the score is no indication of the game.”

Baldacci finished with 4 2/3 innings pitched, allowing seven runs on 10 hits with seven strikeouts.

But it was Busfield that never cracked down the stretch, tossing six innings, allowing just the three first-inning runs and striking out eight batters.

“He’s grown up a ton since last year maturity wise,” said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder. “His mound composure was outstanding. When a lot of kids would fold, he refuses.”

Three of the Grizzlies’ first four batters, Billy Fredrick, Equan Martin and Lukas Granado, sent Busfield fastballs over the left field fence for a 3-0 first-inning lead.

But the Vikings wasted no time in evening the score.

Chris McCready set things up with a one-out triple in the bottom of the first, and scored on an RBI double by Hiura, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk. A Bible triple and Sanchez single tied the score.

“That gave me a lot of confidence to know I could make a mistake and the offense is there to back me up,” Busfield said.

Now, the Vikings hope the league-opener jitters are gone, and the team that showed up after the first inning is the one that will take the field on Friday at defending league champion West Ranch.

Golden Valley (1-5, 0-1) travels to Saugus with both games at 3:15 p.m.



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