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Foothill baseball: Wildcats fall off the top

Cowboys down W.R. while Hart edges Saugus

Posted: April 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Foothill League baseball has been anything but predictable this season.

The biggest indication of that came Thursday when fifth-place Canyon knocked West Ranch out of a first-place tie with a 4-3 victory at West Ranch High on Thursday.

“I think our guys decided they were going to start swinging the bats,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer.

The Cowboys (6-13 overall, 2-5 Foothill League) scored a run in each inning from the first to the fourth and held a 4-1 advantage going into the fifth inning.

Canyon loaded the bases in the first inning and Wildcats starter Cody Bennett walked in a run.

Kevin Morrice knocked in a run in the second and the Cowboys added a third run on an error in the third.

Chris Serrano put the final tally on the board for Canyon with an RBI single.

West Ranch (11-5-1, 5-2) scored runs in the third, fifth and seventh, threatening to win the game in the final inning.
With Canyon starter Max Weinstein still in, the Wildcats loaded the bases.

Weinstein went 3-1 to Josh Heinz with two outs and got him to ground out hard to shortstop.

“Max has been our best pitcher so far,” Schulhofer said. “He’s kept us in games. He’s shown he can get better as the game goes on. Aside from feeling a little jittery there in the seventh, he stayed composed.”

Weinstein allowed five hits and three earned runs, striking out two and walking two.

Serrano went 3-for-4.

Jagger Rusconi and Jake Bird each had two hits for the Wildcats.

Hart 11, Saugus 10

Down three runs in the sixth inning, Hart came back to defeat Saugus 11-10 in a wild game at Saugus High.

Indians catcher Baggio Saldivar tied the game with an RBI double in the sixth, then the Indians loaded the basesand took the go-ahead run on a Connor O’Brien RBI sacrifice fly.

Hart (11-7, 6-1) is now alone in first place in the Foothill League.

“That they like to compete. They like to certainly keep things interesting,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella of what he has learned about his team. “The last two games we’ve had situations we could have rolled over in. Neither time we did. ... We’ve competed. For a young team that speaks highly.”

Hart beat Saugus 6-5 on Tuesday.

Ozella pointed to the performance of reliever Ricky Torres as a major difference in Thursday’s game.

Hart was up 7-3 in the fourth inning, then the Centurions (10-8-1, 4-3) scored seven runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a 10-7 lead.

The key hit was a three-run home run off the bat of Saugus’ Dylan Freyre.

Torres, though, came in and shut the Centurions out in innings five through seven.

“In an 11-10 ball game, any one who throws zeroes is outstanding,” Ozella said.

Saldivar had two doubles and three RBIs in the game and Luke Persico hit a two-run home run.

Austin Rodriguez went 3-for-5 for Saugus and Spencer Daniels, Ruben Cardenas, Roy Verdejo and Justin Donatella each had two hits.

Despite the loss, Saugus is still in the thick of the Foothill League race, down two games to Hart with eight to play.

“I told the kids we can’t go into the tank,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “It’s going to come down to that last week.”

Valencia 14, Golden Valley 5

Valencia gave Golden Valley a chance early, then took advantage of its chances later in a 14-5 win at Golden Valley High.

After falling behind 4-0 after an inning, the Vikings (11-6, 4-3) scored six runs in the third, four in the fourth and three in the third.

Lukas Foster went 2-for-3 with five RBIs, Trey Williams was 2-for-4 with four RBIs and Brian Mundell was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Each player hit two-run home runs in the sixth inning.

It’s the second straight game the trio has attacked the Grizzlies with home runs.

Foster hit a three-run double in the fourth inning and Keston Hiura added RBIs in the fourth and fifth inning.
Connell McKinney added a pinch-hit home run in the sixth.

Golden Valley (4-13, 0-7) took advantage of two Valencia first-inning errors and Valencia starter Connor Chase’s shaky start.

But the Vikings got 3 1/3 innings of strong relief by Chris Gimenez to slow the Grizzlies.
Lukas Granado was 2-for 4 for Golden Valley.



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