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It ain't over 'til it's over

Posted: March 22, 2008 3:20 a.m.
Updated: May 23, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
If there's such a thing as squeaking out a 19-8 win, that's exactly what the Valencia baseball team did on the road against Golden Valley on Friday.

"You've got to give credit to Golden Valley. They absolutely punched us in the mouth," said Vikings head coach Jared Snyder. "We were very lucky to come out with a win. Very, very lucky."

Outside of the seventh inning where the Valencia exploded for 12 runs, the Vikings (6-3, 3-0) spent the almost the entire game playing from behind.

And even when they would take the lead, the Grizzlies would find a way to get back on top.

Golden Valley (1-7, 0-3) even rebounded after Vikings second baseman Taylor Dingman smacked a three-run home run over the center field wall, putting his team ahead 7-6 in the top of the sixth inning.

"I needed to get something done," Dingman said. "I tried to hit it hard and it went out."

In the bottom half of the frame, Valencia relief pitcher Dustin Lucas struck out the first two hitters in the inning, but the Grizzlies capitalized on two errors to score two runs, putting Golden Valley back on top 8-7. A flare single to shallow center field by freshman Josh Smith plated the second run of the inning.

Golden Valley had just three outs left to get and it would have a win against a team that was 2-0 in the Foothill League heading into Friday. The Grizzlies were 0-2 in league play before the contest against the Vikings.

But Golden Valley completely fell apart.

Valencia sent 17 hitters to the plate in the inning and notched 10 hits. Golden Valley right hander Chris Smith pitched 2 2/3 innings, but couldn't get the final out. Nick Rhodes came in to finish off the inning.

"This is the sixth game where we've had the lead and not been able to close it out," said Grizzlies head coach Tom Hamilton.

It was very near to an upset win that would have been an impressive rebound after getting no-hit by a combination of three Hart pitchers on Wednesday.

"I think we improved dramatically after getting no-hit against Hart," Hamilton said. "(Yesterday) we worked almost all day on staying short and putting the ball in play, and that's what we did (today)."

Golden Valley had its biggest inning in the second, where it scored five runs to take a 5-1 lead. Vikings starter Robbie Mouselli struggled with his control at times, especially in the second. Snyder said Mouselli took a ball off a finger on his throwing hand in practice this week.

"He just left some balls up and they hit them," Snyder said. "Golden Valley had a great approach. Tom (Hamilton) has done a very good job with this team."

Mouselli hit two batters and allowed a single to load the bases with two outs. Rhodes made the Vikings pay, hitting a single to center field that got past Dylan Jones, clearing the bases and allowing Rhodes to take third.

The senior Mouselli settled down after the second inning and gave up just two hits the rest of the way in his five innings. He gave up six runs, walked one and struck out three.

But the Vikings slowly but surely chipped away at the lead, scoring a pair in the fourth, one in the fifth, and three in the sixth on Dingman's homer.

Golden Valley starting pitcher Chipper Smith struggled at times with his control but always found his way out of trouble with minimal damage. He walked seven and hit two batters, but he stranded nine Vikings in his four innings of work.

He gave up three runs and struck out two.

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