Standing on the Valencia baseball field for the final time as teammates, a glum Davis Cop looked at Lukas White.
“One more time?” Cop asked.
White nodded slightly. The pair simultaneously patted their chests twice, then chest bumped each other.
After a 3-0 loss to Bishop Amat of La Puente in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs on Tuesday, the Vikings couldn’t help but reminisce about the small yet impactful moments they’ve had and how far they’ve come as a team amid a gloomy, disappointing scene.
Valencia – the third-place team in the Foothill League – won seven of its last games to close out the season. They beat Oaks Christian in a CIF-SS wild card game, a win that was almost taken away from them after concerns of a rule violation.
Then, they upset Harvard Westlake, the No. 1 seed in Division 1 to move on to the second round of the postseason.
“We were just going over memories of what happened in the past year,” said catcher Jake Biscailuz of the Vikes’ discussion after the game.
“Going over that we beat Harvard Westlake, which was the No. 1 team and how big of a deal that was and basically just all the memories we had this year of doing the unthinkable and basically proving people wrong.”
Against the Lancers (18-11-1), it looked like a Round 2 win was within Valencia’s reach as neither team recorded a run through three innings.
Bishop Amat turned the tide in their favor in the fourth frame as Richard Castro hit an RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
White, a senior, struck out Aaron Brown and the defense forced two outs after in the fifth. In the sixth, the Vikings intentionally walked Blake Archuleta to put runners on first and second in hopes of a double-play.
The Lancers instead scored two runs off a Castro double.
“Their guy then hit a ball in the gap and sometimes your best plans backfire,” said Valencia coach Mike Killinger.
Castro almost logged a run for himself but was tagged out at home by Biscailuz to close out the inning.
The Vikings (16-17) generated some momentum in the final inning. Mitchell Torres was walked, then Owen Strader singled to left field to get some Vikes on base.
“We needed a clutch hit and we didn’t get it,” said Strader, who went 2-for-3. “That’s going to happen, but throughout the season, we played a good season. Really good team, all worked together.”
Strader is part of a strong, 10-player sophomore class returning for next season. Each of them is armed with newfound playoff experience and a heavy dose of confidence.
“We had a lot of (sophomore) kids in the starting lineup,” Biscailuz said. “They’re going to be fine. They’re better than I think their own sophomore class than everybody else in the league. Their confidence is already up. They’re only getting better from here.”