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Valencia baseball puts it all together

Posted: March 20, 2013 9:45 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2013 9:45 p.m.

Valencia High's Anthony Lepre (55) hits a home run in the fifth inning against Hart at Valencia on Wednesday.

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There’s a reason why many people thought going into Foothill League baseball play that the Valencia Vikings were the team to beat.

That reason was revealed Wednesday.

The Vikings, led by staff ace J.D. Busfield on the mound and power at the plate, put it all together in a 14-1 win over the Hart Indians at Valencia High.

Valencia (6-1 overall, 3-0 Foothill League) is the only undefeated team in the Foothill League after just three games.

“Honestly, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. The record is irrelevant. That score is not an indication of what Hart is,” said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder.

Yet the way Valencia beat a proud Hart program, still in many ways trying to find an identity, is an indication that the Vikings do have the firepower that a lot of people expected.

Valencia hit three home runs in the game — a first-inning two-run home run by Chad Bible started the onslaught.

Anthony Lepre hit a solo home run in the fifth to put the Vikings up 9-1 and A.J. Balta followed four batters later with a three-run home run.

Balta was 2-for-3 in the game, and missed another home run by a matter of five feet in the fourth. He settled for an RBI double.

The sophomore Lepre had a monster game, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs.

“We have so much potential,” Lepre said of his team. “Everybody’s been really patient.”

The patience paid off as Hart starting pitcher Jack Ralston relied on a big, looping curveball that got the first two batters out of the game. But the Vikings waited him out thereafter and jumped on his fastball and adjusted to his offspeed stuff.

The Vikings scored two in the first, four in the third, two in the fourth, four in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

Busfield wasn’t overpowering as much as he was smart on the mound.

He stranded Hart runners in scoring position in the first four innings, striking out the side in the fourth.

The senior right-hander surrendered his lone run of the game in the second, after Austin Russ doubled and later scored on a Colby Kaneshiro sacrifice fly.

He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, while striking out five.

“He throws all his pitches for strikes and was able to control his offspeed pitches,” Snyder said of the key to Busfield’s success on Wednesday. “That’s his maturity. He’s really come a long way. ... He’s a senior leader. He has innings under his belt. (Stranding runners is) about being a leader and not giving in.”

For Hart (5-5, 1-2), the three hits in the game followed Friday’s one-hit output in a win against Canyon.

A loss like this one could be deflating or it could challenge the Indians.

“That’s what we’re hoping it will do,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella of the challenge. “We need to step it up for another challenge (Friday).”


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