Entering its second Foothill League game of the year, Valencia baseball hosted Saugus in the second game of a home-and-home series on Friday.
Valencia’s pitching stole the show again as Mitchell Torres threw a complete game, striking out seven batters while allowing two hits in a 2-1 win for Valencia.
“It was a big week,” said Valencia head coach Mike Killinger. “We had great pitching performances by Robitaille and now Torres, throwing a complete game. They were just attacking the hitters and it makes things a lot easier for a coach when you have pitchers doing their jobs.”
Torres made quick work of Saugus’ leadoff batters, getting Nolan Kutcher to pop out to left field, Hewitt Grissom to strikeout and Anthony Ramirez to ground out.
In the bottom of the inning with two outs, on the very first pitch he saw, Torres delivered again. Hitting a solo home run off Saugus pitcher Davis Brown, Torres catapulted Valencia (5-4 overall, 2-0 in Foothill League) to a 1-0 lead after one inning of play.
“Me and that pitcher kind of have a little bit of rivalry and I just wanted to get after him,” Torres said. “I saw the first pitch, it was right there, and I put a good swing on it.”
In the top of the third inning, Kutcher was hit by a pitch and took first. He then stole second and was almost caught, but was able to slide in safely. Kutcher then stole third, too.
Valencia catcher Grant Weiss’ throw to third base went flying over Davis Cop’s head, allowing Kutcher to beat out the throw at home and tie the game at 1-1.
After getting the first two batters out, Saugus (2-5-1, 0-2) ran into some trouble in the bottom of the inning as Valencia was able to load the bases after Cop singled and Kyle Barileau and Torres were both walked.
Saugus pitcher Davis Brown was able to power through and get Brock Kleszcz to pop out and prevent any runs from crossing the plate.
Brown also pitched a complete game, striking out one batter in the process.
Looking for an answer, in the bottom of the fifth inning, Cop stepped to the plate. He sent a high-arching ball up and over the fences for a Valencia’s second home run of the game.
“Obviously, never going to be perfect,” Cop said. “Could ask for a few pitches back, but as a team we just did what we needed to do to win the game. That’s the only stat line that matters. Now we’ve got two in the ‘W’ column.”
With two out and a runner on base, Torres closed out the game getting Dylan Murray to strike out for his seventh of the game and the complete game win.
“I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes,” Torres said. “My last outing wasn’t that good, so I just wanted to pound the zone and it worked.”
Saugus gets its next opportunity for a Foothill League win in a road game at West Ranch. Valencia will try to keep its undefeated league record intact as they host Canyon. Both games are at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
“We are just running the gauntlet of the Foothill League and we have West Ranch next week and then Hart after that so we just have to keep our heads up and hopefully they will start falling,” said Saugus head coach Carl Grissom. “Until then, you just keep your heads up and keep it rolling.”