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Posted: March 20, 2008 3:11 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Valencia starting pitcher Josh Corrales delivers a pitch in the second inning during the Vikings game Wednesday afternoon at Canyon High.

It's been a tough couple of games for the Canyon baseball pitching staff.

The Cowboys' pitchers have given up 32 runs in their last two games, including Wednesday's 10-3 loss to Valencia at home in the second game of Foothill League action for both teams.

"Pitching has actually been our strength," said Cowboys head coach Brandon Montemayor. "We weren't executing offensively. We got into situations where we needed a few timely hits and weren't getting those."

Valencia (5-3, 2-0) got plenty of timely hits early, scoring all 10 of its runs in the first three innings.

The Vikings' Dylan Jones belted a two-run triple down the left field line in the first inning, part of a three-run opening frame.

Cowboys starter Ryan Scherich lasted just two innings and one batter into the third, giving up six runs on five hits. He hit two batters, struck out one and walked zero.

But it got worse before it got better for the Canyon pitchers after reliever Sean Gavin came in and lasted one-third of an inning.

He walked one, hit a batter, and allowed three hits. When Gavin left the mound, Canyon (4-1-1, 1-1) was looking through a 9-0 hole.

"Our starting pitching early didn't hit their spots," Montemayor said. "It's always tough to defend when your pitchers don't hit their spots."

Nathan Smith came on in relief for the Cowboys, and gave up an RBI single to Travis Amerian before getting Robbie Mouselli to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.

Smith helped settle things down for Canyon, throwing 4 2/3 innings and giving up just three hits after the disastrous third frame. The double play ended a five-run third inning where 10 batters went to the plate and gave Valencia a 10-0 lead.

As daunting as that sounds, Canyon had its chances to make a comeback.

Vikings starting pitcher Josh Corrales always managed to find his way out of trouble, stranding two in the first inning and also getting out of bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

The right hander had allowed three runs in that frame and saw nine batters.

He walked three straight hitters with two outs, but Robert Wright grounded out and the Vikings escaped the inning with minimal damage.

"The biggest thing about Josh is he competes," said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder. "When he doesn't have his good stuff he still competes. We don't worry about it when he doesn't have his good stuff."

In the fifth, Corrales faced one batter, giving up a walk to Sammy Sarmiento on four straight pitches. Matt Higgins finished out the game for Valencia, getting out of his own bases loaded jam in the fifth and retiring seven straight Cowboys to close out the game.

"We just got key hits at good times. Josh pitched a phenomenal game and Higgy came in and shut the door," said right fielder Travis Amerian, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. "When they (Canyon) got up we just put them down again."

With the win, Valencia improves to 2-0 in the Foothill League, while Canyon dropped to 1-1.

"Our main thing is to tighten up," Montemayor said. "We're a big ball of clay and we need some definition."


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