Facing off against last year’s Foothill League Champions, Golden Valley hosted Hart in a Valley Invitational Baseball League (VIBL) game on Friday night at Golden Valley.
Using eight different pitchers in the seven-inning game, the young Grizzlies are already showing vast signs of improvement despite a 9-3 loss to the Indians.
“I like that we responded to everything that Hart did offensively,” said Golden Valley head coach Matt Sorensen. “It shows a lot of resiliency and a lot of fight, so that’s what I liked out there from my guys.”
Hart jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, a scoring run that started with Pat Arman’s bases-loaded, two-run double.
“I was just looking to jump on any mistakes any pitchers left over the plate and I think I did a good job of that today,” Arman said.
Arman finished with the day going 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Kyle Smisko and Eddie Tejada brought in the other two runs for the Indians.
Responding with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, Golden Valley’s Nico Marino hit a bases-loaded blooper into center field that dropped for a single, scoring Bryant Colon from third base.
Trying to figure out the pitching rotation and depth chart, Sorensen brought on a different pitcher every inning, starting in the second with Nash Fitch.
Allowing three runs in the second and fourth innings, Fitch, Bryson James and Colon combined to give up six hits, three walks and dealt five K’s.
In the third, the Grizzlies were able to close in on Hart’s lead by scoring two runs off of Kendall Thomas, who usually plays in the outfield, thanks to Dylan Engbrecht and Bryson James.
“I’ve been working on pitching a little bit,” Thomas said. “Coach and I think that it’s something that could save our team’s arm and benefit us a little bit.”
Through the fifth and sixth innings, the Grizzlies opted to have Alex Stemple and Chase Hwang pitch. Stemple finished the fifth striking out one in a 1-2-3 inning. Hwang followed in the sixth with a hitless 1-2-3 inning forcing three pop-ups in a row.
“I felt good. I just came in and hit my spots and get the job done by not throwing any balls and just throwing strikes,” Hwang said. “We have a lot of games, so I felt good pitching one inning. Knowing that I’m only going one inning, I can throw my hardest.”
Imploring different strategies with pitchers and switching players around in the lineup, the Grizzlies are proving that they will be a force to reckon with in the near future.
“We have a lot of arms, a lot of quality arms and if there’s one position that we want depth at, it’s on the mound and we have it so I sleep well at night knowing that we have plenty of arms and quality arms that can go out there and give us a chance to win,” Sorensen said.