Leading off the game with a solo home run, West Ranch’s Ryan Camacho crossed home plate, took off his helmet and banged it against teammate Will Chambers’ helmet in celebration.
“I was feeling pretty confident in our team,” Camacho said of his homer. “I just wanted to get us off to a good start and hopefully keep all the momentum up.”
Never looking back and never trailing in the game, the Wildcats defeated Valencia at Valencia on Friday, 10-1.
In the second inning, adding another two runs on a single by Wildcats third baseman, Ryan Farr, Valencia head coach Mike Killinger opted to pull pitcher Sam Stulman and replace him with righty Ryan Kysar.
West Ranch (17-9 overall, 9-4 in Foothill League) led 3-0 after two frames.
Final: West Ranch 10-1 over Valencia. Cade Nicol goes six giving up one run on four hits and three K’s. Will Chambers goes 1-for-3 with a two-run homer. With the win the Wildcats clinch a playoff berth.
— Diego Marquez (@goDiegoMaDiego7) May 5, 2018
In the bottom of the fourth, Kysar looked like he was going to get out of the inning striking out two of the first three batters he faced, but once again Camacho had other plans.
Hitting a single over the third baseman’s head, Camacho brought in his second run of the game putting the Wildcats up 4-0.
The Vikings then allowed back-to-back home runs, first to Chambers, who hit a two-run bomb to center field and then a solo home run from Nicholas Perez to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.
“I think we just hunted the pitches we needed to and our approach was a little different,” Chambers said about the three home runs the Wildcats hit. “A lot of guys said, ‘We have to do something special today.’
“The last couple games, we struggled with the bats so our guys decided to pick it up for (pitcher) Cade (Nicol) because he deserved it.”
Following the Wildcats bats, Nicol was able to pitch a gem, giving up one run on four hits to go with three strikeouts in six innings.
“If you go back and look after spring break, our Friday games are our best games and it’s our best games because he’s pitching. He has been our ace all spring,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill.
Scoring another three runs, one in the fifth and two in the sixth, the Wildcats ran away with the game.
Valencia’s lone run came in the bottom of the sixth when Lukas White hit a towering RBI double to right field that careened off the wall, bringing in Kyle Barileau.
Winning the season series against Valencia (13-15, 8-5) on Friday, the Wildcats clinched a playoff berth and only have two games left next week against Golden Valley on Tuesday and Thursday.
Valencia still remains in the playoff picture with two big games against first-place Hart to finish out the season, also playing on Tuesday and Thursday.
“We have to come out and play our best games of the year because Hart’s a really good team and we need one win in order for us to get into the playoffs,” Killinger said.