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Hart baseball wins Foothill with a walk-off

League title can be outright with a victory Thursday

Posted: May 13, 2014 10:11 p.m.
Updated: May 13, 2014 10:11 p.m.
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It’s fitting that Hart High baseball clinched at least a share of the Foothill League championship with a 2-1 walk-off victory over the Saugus Centurions on Tuesday at Hart High School — the Indians first title since 2008.
It’s fitting because of this season in comparison to 2013.

Going into the 2013 season, the Indians were a very early Foothill League favorite until three players were dismissed from the team for disciplinary reasons before the season.

Then the Indians played 17 one-run games and missed their first CIF-Southern Section playoff since 1986.
Lessons learned.

“Yeah, it eats at you. I’m not going to be dishonest,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella of missing the postseason last year. “Not for my welfare, but the kids. I want them to reach their goals.

“The seventh inning was a sign of persistence. We don’t put our heads down. We learn from it and go on to the next at-bat, the next pitch.”

Hart starting pitcher Jack Ralston nearly matched Saugus’ Anthony Donatella in easily one of the best pitched Foothill League games of the season.

Except Ralston hit Rex Kemple with a pitch to lead off the top of the fourth inning.

Kemple stole second base, was sacrificed to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Roy Verdejo.

Donatella just had to finish the Indians off in the bottom of the seventh inning after allowing just three Hart baserunners through the first six innings.

However, in a game with so little margin for error, Hart took advantage of every small opening the Centurions provided them.

Indian Colby Kaneshiro struck a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Chad Haslock followed with another single.

Donatella induced a fly out from Pearson Good.

Then Wes Fitzpatrick hit sharply to second baseman Troy Williams, who bobbled, recovered then threw.
Fitzpatrick beat the throw.

Paul Richan then grabbed a bat to pinch hit.

“My energy went through the roof,” Richan said. “I was in the bullpen with a bat, going through the situations.”

Richan said he thought with Donatella on the ropes and needing to throw strikes with the bases loaded that he would come at him with fastballs.

On a 2-2 count, Richan lined a fastball that first baseman Ty Faulconer dove for and smothered. He recovered but Richan was already near first base so Faulconer’s only play was at home.

Pinch runner Julian Rea had already crossed the plate, then Haslock beat the throw for the game-winning run.

“Last year was frustrating. We were fighting all the time,” Ralston said, alluding to the one run games.
Reminded that this one was a one-run game, he said, “It’s OK, though.”

Ralston pitched a complete game, striking out four, walking none, allowing four hits and hitting two batters.

He got stronger as the game went on and began to find more success when he started using his changeup effectively.

Donatella, on the other hand, went 6 2/3 innings, allowed six hits, struck out six and walked none.

“He didn’t deserve to lose,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora.

Hart needs to beat Saugus on Thursday or hope for a Valencia loss against Golden Valley to clinch an outright title.

Saugus is tied for third place in the Foothill heading into the final regular seasons game of the year.


AwesomeTownSports: Posted: May 14, 2014 12:11 a.m.

Just as I called it last month, prior to The Signal suspending public comments over the Signal Sports favorite coach getting bounced for his lack of integrity.
Hart is the class of the valley, just like I said. Solid, real baseball coaching, hard working ball players. Great pitching and improving offense will serve them well in post season. Mature team and players earn their positions and respect their program. Football also.
Saugus, tough week, blame to go around from top to bottom. Part time/hack coaching and too young/ immature players . . Great deep pitching staff, Little has been tremendous! NO OFFENSE and shaky D. Well keep those sophomores in the line up, despite the fact they wouldn't start on any other team in the valley and would likely struggle at the JV level. It's not what you do over there, it's still who you know. Too bad for the other 20 players in the program. A short post season if any.
Vikings would likely beat Hart 7 of 10, decent pitching, pure power offense, and finally a respected coach. Will go deep in post season. Kudos to the players and interim coach for moving forward in spite of the drama. Huira player of year!
WR, hard to call, Bird needs to rise to occasion, and injuries have hurt them. Streaky, we ll have to see.
Canyon/GV. Keep working and striving, quality players at both programs.
Anyways, I gotta get back to patting myself on the back for being right on last month!

stupidinSCV: Posted: May 14, 2014 8:30 a.m.

so awesometownsports, you just love to bash SHS. Hard working kids deserve better, not some parent that likes to come on here and hide behind a stupid name and comment on what you think you know about. You have no idea what you are talking about.

gdonatella: Posted: May 14, 2014 10:40 a.m.

AwesomeTownSports, you should be icing your arm and shoulder from patting yourself on the back so much. Instead of attacking the other baseball programs in our valley, you should be solely congratulating Coach Ozella, his players, and coaches. It is clear to me that you are misinformed when it comes to knowing what goes on in all of these baseball programs. All of these coaches, players, and families work hard,give up time, effort,and sweat to make their program a better place. Yet you like to attack those that do positive things for our community. I don't know you,and don't care to know anyone who won't put their name on their views and opinions. Maybe you should try to coach a youth team in our valley and do something positive. Hopefully all of our teams in the playoffs can represent the SCV well. Enjoy the playoffs!! One last thing. I'm sorry your child didn't get the chance to play high school baseball for any of the fine coaches in Santa Clarita.

SCVliving: Posted: May 14, 2014 5:05 p.m.

Totally agree with you gdonatella. The comments made by AwesomeSportsTown could not be more incorrect, especially about the Saugus sophomores "would not start at any other program and would struggle at the JV level." That just screams of ignorance. Saugus goes into the last week of the year with a chance to win the Foothill and have 2 of the best pitchers in the entire league. The coaching staff has established a winning program and will be back in the playoffs yet again this year. Good luck to all the teams in the playoffs and here is hoping all of them go deep and represent the SCV well!

PolarBearDad9: Posted: May 15, 2014 10:14 p.m.

Another disgruntled, Glory Days, "this is how I would do it", Monday morning third base coach.
I know less about baseball but more about people. And Mr AwesomeSports, I know you well. . . Sit behind the fence, with all the answers, full proof strategies, and an opinion on everything. But never once stepping onto a field to lead young ball players. Never once donate time, knowledge, or commitment to local youth. Nope, I know you. . . The parent who's little Johnny can do no wrong, you find it easy to point that tiny finger at coaches, umps, and the like. Well, keep it up, your doing great.
These players, all SCV ballplayers, and I'll speak for mine at SHS, understand and respect the time/effort/sacrifice made by their coaches. Win or lose, they strive with and for their coaches, many of which hold multiple jobs and juggle family to be on the field.
I know you well Mr Awesome, you are THAT guy. I see you all over town during sporting events. Running your no account gums to the young ball players and moms, but never speaking directly to the coaches.
Congrats to Hart Baseball. Our boys all over SCV have played together and against each other since childhood. And what a great valley for baseball and baseball coaches. These coaches are known and named, our valley players are known and named. . .but you, you hide . . .we hear you, but can't see you. I know you very well...
SHS, a great year! And it's not over.
SHS, a young team, and that means back again stronger next year.
SHS coaches, appreciated, don't lose your drive.
SCV parents, don't be THAT guy.
Mr AwesomeSport, anytime you wanna learn me about baseball, I'd appreciate it. . . and I'll learn you about people.
I'm easy to find at most games, not hiding.
M Maher

Griffith: Posted: May 15, 2014 6:28 a.m.

Awsometownsports is such a long name to keep writing so I’ll just call you “Dick.” All the time and energy you spend bashing the Saugus and Valencia baseball programs, one would infer your kid was cut from one of the two programs. First of all, congratulations to the Hart team for taking league. What a great group of kids. My son has been lucky enough to play with most of them at one time or other.
Now, before you decide to run that hole under your nose and anonymously attack kids and programs in the middle of the night, you need to check your facts. My facts come from “Maxpreps.” Saugus has “NO OFFENSE” you say. Last I checked Saugus was second in the league for runs. “Shaky D” you say. Saugus has the best fielding percentage in the league and the lowest league ERA. This means Saugus scores runs and at the same time limits runs from the opposing team. Their defense backs up their strong pitching.
Constantly attacking the coaching staff is a waste of your time. No one takes you seriously. Anyone who has played at Saugus, and my son does, knows how much time and energy those coaches contribute to the baseball program and the kids academics. Saugus’s varsity GPA is over 3.0. There is no school where I would rather have him play.
If “patting” yourself on the back or wherever you decide continues to make you feel good, keep it up.
M Griffith

litttra: Posted: May 15, 2014 9:57 a.m.

Awesometown,I would really like to know your source regarding your info, actually I couldnt care a less, it is complete ignorance, for you to bash any coach or kid shows your lack of intelligence not only with your opinion of them as people but also your complete lack of intelligence of the game itself, do everyone a favor STOP with the comments it is not productive and is destructive all of the SHS coaches and players work very hard and do not deserve your bashing, congrats to Hart great job!!

SalkeldStrong: Posted: May 15, 2014 10:08 a.m.

I have NEVER commented on articles nor have I EVER commented on comments... until today. I think it's safe to say that I am much older than the people who have made the comments above... I have seen more baseball games than I can count and have found that the large majority of baseball parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents and friends are supportive cheerleaders for their son/brother/grandson/friend's TEAM. Mr AwesomeTownSports DOES NOT fit that description! *TEAM* MR AwesomeTownSports, something you apparently know nothing about.
How dare you run your mouth off bashing SHS coaches and players. These fine coaches put in hours and hours day after day to not only build a competitive team, but to build quality young men. These YOUNG men, remember Mr AwesomeTownSports, these are YOUNG men, that will only improve their baseball skills everyday with not only what they learn on the practice field but in games that are won and lost... My question to you is.... Why do you take so much joy in seeing them lose? Why do you feel the need to come on here and make such ugly comments about the SHS Baseball program? You're a horrible example to our youth. I hold you up, whoever you are, to what NOT to be.
I'll be out at the Saugus/Hart baseball game today and will be cheering the "Boys in Blue" to hopefully a victory. I know they will play their hearts out and will leave it all on the field... win or lose. I could not be more proud of the Saugus Baseball coaches, players, and families!


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