By Ryan Menzie
For the signal
After taking an entire season off baseball, the Valencia Vikings showed once again on Friday why they were league champions in three of the last five seasons.
“We knew we were playing well on Wednesday,” Valencia coach Mike Killinger said. “We wanted to keep the same level of focus (Friday) because we have two very big weeks at West Ranch and Hart.”
From the beginning against the Golden Valley, the Vikings were focused, just as the Kittens asked them to be. Throughout the first four innings of the game, the Vikings outscored the Grizzlies 12-0.
The only score for the Grizzlies came on an RBI single by Cade Schwartz at the top of the sixth inning. The Grizzlies could not get anything to go on the offensive due to the Vikings’ strong pitching and away play.
Ball winding outings from the Vikings gave the Grizzlies problems throughout the match. Scotty Pieper (junior) stopped a possible momentum for the Grizzlies with a swinging one-handed catch in the middle of the field in the fourth inning. The Grizzlies would end the inning with a quick three-and-out.
Brook Snyder led the Vikings’ pitchers, picking apart the Grizzlies balls and finishing with nine strikes and a well-earned run through six rounds of play.
“I just beat my heart out, like I do every game,” Snyder said. “(Must) be clear, forget all about this game and move on to the next one.”
Vikings offense clicked on all cylinders. Jose Mariano (junior) and Pieper led by four RBI pieces, including a two-RBI triple in the third round by Mariano.
The Vikings survive the Grizzlies 16-3 through seven rounds. The Vikings also made the most of putting runners in scoring positions and utilized six stolen bases.
Despite the Vikings’ solid display, Killinger wanted them to stay focused in the weeks ahead, as they play their strongest Foothill League rivals.
“We’re just going to get ready for West Ranch next week,” Killinger said. They are big games. We and them and Hart, we have been rivals for many years and we will be ready to give it our best shot. ”
The Vikings seem to be keeping pace in a big rivalry match on Wednesday against West Ranch, while the Grizzlies seem to be turning the season around with a matchup against Saugus.