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Hart baseball misses out on playoffs for first time since 1986

Posted: May 9, 2013 10:40 p.m.
Updated: May 9, 2013 10:40 p.m.


And so it ends, the way it ended.

In the last day of the regular season, the Hart Indians fought back again in a reflection of their late-season surge to defeat the Golden Valley Grizzlies 6-3 on Thursday at Hart High School.

The Indians finish Foothill play tied for fourth place with an 8-7 record, fighting back to win five of its last six games.

Hart (12-14 overall, 8-7 Foothill League) trailed 3-2 going into the bottom of the fifth inning on Thursday, but fought back with two runs in the fifth and two more in sixth.

And so that leads to another end.

The Indians needed two wins from Canyon against Valencia this week to reach their 27th consecutive CIF-Southern Section postseason.

Canyon lost to Valencia on Tuesday, and now that Hart finishes the season below .500 overall, it will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1986.

“I said to our guys after the game all year when things happen, and this goes all the way back to the fall when people were removed and quit, I kept telling them we can compete,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella, alluding to an off-field incident that resulted in three key players being removed from the team. “I don’t believe they ever doubted they could compete. That’s encouraging from a coaching standpoint, and we were in every game. ... When you compete (in our league), you’re pretty good, and we were pretty good. Too bad we came up one game short.”

Hart played an incredible 17 one-run games this season and was 6-6 in Foothill League one-run games.

Thursday’s game was another tight one.

Hart scored in the second inning first on a bases loaded walk to Austin Russ, then on a Nick Valaika sacrifice fly.

Golden Valley (3-23, 2-13) took the lead with three runs in the top of the fourth with all three coming on errors.

Josh Lampariello was the only Grizzly to reach base with a hit and score in the inning.

Hart came back with two in the bottom of the fifth with aggressive two-out play.

Chad Haslock knocked in Valaika with a single after Valaika stole second base.

Haslock then stole second and came around on a Colby Kaneshiro single for a 4-3 lead.

Dayton Provost’s two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth provided some insurance.

For Golden Valley, upset wins over Valencia and Saugus were highlights this season, but the Grizzlies expected more in 2013.

“I had high expectations,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin. “I thought we’d do a lot better than we did. It seems like were in games. I thought we could compete. I think they gave it all they can. At the end of the day we faced some teams.”


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