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Valencia baseball wins CIF-SS Division I wild card

Posted: May 14, 2013 10:13 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2013 10:13 p.m.

Valencia's Kyle Sanchez hits a two-RBI double in the fifth inning against Westlake on Tuesday at Valencia High School.

The bats may be coming around just in time for Valencia Vikings baseball.

Patient and effective hitting put Valencia in front early and an A.J. Balta grand slam put the game out of reach as the Vikings beat the Westlake Warriors 11-2 on Tuesday in a CIF-Southern Section Division I wild-card matchup at Valencia High School.

“We saw the pitches we wanted and we hit them,” said Balta, who started for the first time in four games and finished 2-for-3 with a walk and four RBIs.

In the fourth inning, the senior crushed a 2-0 fastball over the fence in straight-away center field for his grand slam, which bounced into the adjacent softball field and interrupted Valencia softball’s playoff game.

The homer gave the Vikings (17-11) a 9-2 lead and helped send them to the first round of the playoffs on Thursday, when Valencia will travel to face Mission League champion Harvard-Westlake, the bracket’s No. 3 seed.

Harvard-Westlake is ranked No. 2 in the country in Baseball America’s latest Top 25 poll.

“We have to play our best game of the year,” said Valencia head coach Jared Snyder of Thursday. “We can’t make mistakes. We’re going to have to execute.”Westlake (14-14) had plenty of chances to score in the first four innings, but Valencia starting pitcher J.D. Busfield threw big pitches when he needed them to get out of trouble.

In the end, Busfield yielded two runs off six hits while striking out four in five innings of work.

Once Valencia took a big lead, he was pulled after 58 pitches to save him for a possible appearance out of the bullpen on Thursday, Snyder said.

On the other side, Westlake starter Zak Daniels didn’t have such luck.

Valencia scored four runs off him in the first inning before putting up five in the fourth.

In the first, Anthony Lepre brought home Chad Bible with a single past first base and Jared Oliva drove in two more runs with a triple into left-center field. The other run scored on an error.

The Warriors fought back with a run in the second on an Adam Terrazas solo home run. They then added a run on a Brandon Cavanah groundout in the fourth to cut Valencia’s lead to 4-2.

But that didn’t last long.

“We had to hand it to (Valencia),” said Westlake head coach Billy Ashley, a former Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox player. “It wasn’t pretty. We had a couple balls we left up and we made some mistakes, and they made us pay for it.”

The Vikings added two more runs in the fifth inning on Kyle Sanchez’s two-RBI double.

For Thursday’s game, Snyder said Valencia will likely start Luke Soroko on the mound.



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