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Canyon baseball takes another path to victory

Canyon takes advantage of Hart miscues to win and remain tied for first place in Foot

Posted: April 19, 2013 10:59 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2013 10:59 p.m.

Hart's Dayton Provost, left, is unsuccessful in trying to grab an errant throw as Canyon's Cole Mears slides into second base in the seventh inning at Hart High Friday.

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A sign of a good team is its ability to withstand adversity.

And another sign of a good team is its ability to pounce on others’ mistakes.

Canyon Cowboys baseball handled the adversity and took advantage of a late Hart Indians error to win 4-3 at Hart High School on Friday to remain tied for first place in the Foothill League.

The biggest surprise of the Foothill has continued to win games in every way — with offense at times, with pitching at times and with good fortune at other times.

This one as a combination of all the above.

“I’m not sure if we have found our identity yet,” said Canyon’s Max Weinstein. “I guess we’re a team that wins.”
Hart had Canyon beat on Wednesday before the Cowboys erased a 5-1 deficit in the seventh inning and won the game in the eighth.

On Friday, Canyon (14-7 overall, 6-3 Foothill League) led 3-0 going into the fifth inning and Weinstein even had a no-hitter going.

But Hart (7-13, 3-6) mounted its comeback beginning in the fifth.

Colby Kaneshiro’s bad-hop single scored a run.

In the sixth, the Indians plated two more with a squeeze bunt single by Chad Haslock and a single by Austin Russ.

Yet the Cowboys took advantage of Hart’s mistakes in the top of the seventh.

The first was a walk issued to Weinstein.

The second was a throwing error by Hart third baseman Cody Miller that allowed Chris Serrano to reach base.

That set up Taro Okada’s two-out grounder that hopped behind second base.

Hart shortstop Nick Valaika grabbed and flipped to second baseman Dayton Provost, but Serrano beat the toss, allowing a run to score and giving the Cowboys a 4-3 lead.

Hart had its opportunity in the bottom of the seventh.

A two-out Canyon error allowed Pearson Good to reach safely.

He then stole second base on Weinstein with Valaika up.

Yet Valaika, one of Hart’s best options at the plate, popped to center to end the game.

For Hart, this is becoming a broken record that may break a significant streak.

The Indians have made the CIF-Southern Section playoffs every season since 1986.

But if the season were to end today, they’d be on the outside looking in.

One-run games are costing them.

They’ve played 13 one-run games this season and of them they are 2-5 in the Foothill in those contests.

“No, not even close,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella on if he’s ever seen anything like this. “Other than the (March 20) Valencia game, we’ve had a chance to win every one. We’ve been in these situations like today. It’s disheartening. But you say, ‘Keep going after it.’”

Ozella couldn’t ignore the mistakes of the game, though.

The errors, a failed second squeeze in the sixth that would have given them the lead, and the inability to take advantage of their own opportunities.

Canyon created its own opportunities early, with three consecutive batters reaching base in the third on bunts.

Weinstein then drove in one run and Okada plated two, each with singles to give the Cowboys an early 3-0 lead.

It looked like it would hold with Weinstein on the mound, but Hart fought back.

Then Canyon countered.

“We feel fortunate to get out with a win,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer.

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