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On the Beat Baseball: A split in league is realistic

Posted: May 12, 2014 11:02 p.m.
Updated: May 12, 2014 11:02 p.m.
 

By the end of this week, we could have multiple Foothill League baseball champions.

The chances of that happening are pretty good, as well.

Hart (10-3 in the Foothill League) and Saugus (9-4) wrap up the regular season with two games this week.

Valencia (9-4) gets Golden Valley (0-13) twice.

Though the Grizzlies have improved as of late, Valencia should win these last two games.

As for Hart and Saugus, the odds would say that these teams will split their series.

That would create the two-way tie between Hart and Valencia.

However, four guys could be difference makers — all of them are pitchers.

It’s remarkable how similar Hart’s two starters — Paul Richan and Jack Ralston — are compared to Saugus’ pair — Eric Little and Anthony Donatella.

The four pitchers, as we’ve stated before, are out-getters. None of them dominate a game on the mound, yet each finds a way to win.

Donatella is a great example.

Batters are hitting .299 against him and his WHIP is 1.466. Yet of the bunch, he has the lowest ERA at 0.64.

How?

Allowing 10 baserunners per seven innings and he has an ERA that small?

Donatella is limiting the extra-base hit.

Hart is not an extra-base hit team.

Saugus, for that matter, is also a small-ball team.

With that sort of combination, these games should be low scoring and therefore it’s tough to determine who has the advantage.

Our thought — the teams will split the series.

On to the Dodgers: Last week, two of my blogposts on the Dodgers’ official team blog dodgers.mlblogs.com had Santa Clarita Valley connections.

One was on former Dodger Al Downing, who I grew up listening to on DodgerTalk on the radio.

Downing, a 17-season big-league pitcher, is a Santa Clarita Valley resident.

We reminisced about his DodgerTalk days.

I also mentioned Golden Valley High graduate Scott Barlow in my weekly minor league report.

Barlow pitches for the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate the Great Lakes Loons.

On May 5, Barlow, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2011 and had Tommy John surgery in 2012, allowed one hit in six innings, walking none and striking out six on May 5.

Player of the Year watch: Foothill League coaches will have to decide after this week who the Player of the Year is.

If the award will go to one of the top three Foothill teams, there are an abundance of candidates — the aforementioned pitchers, Saugus RBI-machine Roy Verdejo and Hart shortstop Nick Valaika.

Most of the time, teams push for their own player.

However, how can a coach choose someone over Valencia shortstop Keston Hiura?

His 12 home runs lead the state and he’s hitting .500 with a 1.083 slugging percentage on the season.

In Foothill League play, he’s batting .581 with eight home runs.

Is there even a choice?

Our rankings: No ties in this one. We are going with who we think is playing the best baseball right now.

1. Saugus

2. Hart

3. Valencia

4. West Ranch

5. Canyon

6. Golden Valley

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