WEB EXCLUSIVE: Valencia tops in Dist. 6-5A after 10-1 win over Los Lunas
TOME – Valencia pitcher Garret Garcia scattered four hits and the visiting Los Lunas several uncharacteristic mistakes Saturday morning as the Jaguars took the District 6-4A lead with a decisive 10-1 win at Jaguar Park at Valencia High School.
“We played well, the kids were ready to go,” said VHS coach Carlos Carrasco. “They brought the sticks. We’ve been a little quiet before today but they really brought it against a good pitcher.”[subsriber-content]
Garcia, who struck out seven in six innings of work, also helped himself out at the plate, going 3-for-4 as Valencia moved to 14-4 on the season, 4-0 in league play. The Tigers dropped their first district game of the season and scored just once after scoring 39 runs in three District 6-4A games leading up to their showdown with VHS Saturday.
“He was dominant,” Carrasco said. “He was really commanding the fastball, his change up was good. The key was for him to keep their big sticks off balance
On Saturday, Los Lunas started off the game with a good omen, scoring a run after a walk and hit pitcher to go up 1-0 after the top of the first inning.
Valencia immediately responded, loading the bases to start their half of the first inning then getting four runs to take a lead they would never give up.
“We didn’t put the ball in play and we didn’t hit like we normally do. I thought we were a little flat,” said LLHS coach Pete Candelaria. “They brought in a lot of runs on errors, that’s what killed us.”
Valencia added two runs in the second and third inning, taking advantage of Tiger errors in each inning while going to work on Los Lunas starter Jerome Abeita, who got tagged with 11 hits in the game.
Meanwhile, Garcia kept the the Tigers’ batters off balance for the most part and the Jags defense was able to come up with some big plays, including a 6-4-3 double play that got Garcia out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fifth, retiring the side and putting the Tigers’ biggest threat of the day to rest.
Garcia chalked up three of his seven strikeouts in the top of the sixth and seventh inning, getting three Los Lunas batters to go down swinging and all but one of the rest to ground out or pop up to end the inning.
The Los Lunas loss, coupled with a stirring 9-8 Belen win over Miyamura Saturday sets up a second showdown for the Tigers Tuesday. Both teams are currently 3-1 at the midway point of the district season, with Tuesday’s winner taking sole possession of second place with five games left in the regular season.
“There’s not a whole lot we’re going to change (against Belen),” Candelaria said. “Hopefully our bats will wake up a little bit and our defense can pick up where it left off prior to this game.” [/subsriber-content]