Setting the tone on the first pitch that he saw, Valencia baseball’s Davis Cop blasted a single into left field to lead off the bottom of the first inning against Golden Valley at Valencia on Wednesday.
Kyle Barileau hit a single with runners on first and second base, Mitchell Torres hit a single into right field to score Cop from third base. The following batter, Brock Kleszcz hit an RBI single of his own with the bases load, scoring Barileau and then Owen Strader hit an RBI sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 Valencia.
The Vikings went on to score 15 more runs through four innings, defeating Golden Valley 18-0 in a shutout victory.
“We have been getting a lot more consistency at the plate and a lot of that has to do with practice time and we are finally starting to get in the groove here,” said Valencia head coach Mike Killinger. “The kids took great at-bats today and were able to string them together. When your first four guys singled to lead off the game, that’s a pretty good start.”
With Valencia pitcher Tyler Robitaille on the mound for the Vikings (8-4 overall, 5-0 in Foothill League), Golden Valley had a hard time getting on base as he struck out five batters over the course of the first two innings.
In the top of the third, with Cop on base after a walk, Barileau laid down a bunt to put runners on first and second for Torres.
Torres connected with a high-arching ball to center field that was caught for the out, but allowed Cop to tag up at third base and score.
Kleszcz, just like in the first inning, hit another RBI single up the middle scoring Barileau from third, bringing the score to 5-0 in Valencia’s favor.
Robitaille made quick work of the side in the third inning, striking out one and getting the next two batters to ground out to keep the Grizzlies scoreless.
With one out in the bottom of the third inning, Grizzlies (5-6, 1-4) pitcher Daniel Goodwin ran into some more trouble after he walked Strader, John Haimowitz and Sean Ogrin to load the bases.
Goodwin was then pulled in favor of Chase Hwang. Goodwin went 2 1/3 innings, giving up eight earned runs on five hits and one strikeout.
The first batter that Hwang faced was Cop, who came through again, clearing the bases on a three-RBI double to increase the Vikings’ lead to 8-0 through the third inning.
Ballooning their lead in the bottom of the fourth, the Vikings scored 10 runs as Haimowitz, Ogrin each had one RBI and Cop, Kleszcz and Matt Cotti all collected two RBIs, while two more runs scored on an error and a passed ball.
“We saw the ball well and we found some holes and you can’t always ask for that, but today we did and that’s just how it fell,” Cop said. “We found some holes that they didn’t, but it’s not always going to be like that. We were just fortunate enough to take advantage of that.”
Cop ended the game with five RBIs, while Kleszcz had four, Torres had three and Cotti had two.
Robitaille was pulled in the top of the fifth and finished the game with two hits, six strikeouts and no earned runs.
The two schools play again at Golden Valley at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
“You get to play again the next day,” said Golden Valley head coach Matt Sorensen. “Games like this happen at every level, every single year. There’s something or be learned on both sides. All the credit goes to Valencia and coming out of the gates and putting on a hitting display.
“We go right back at it, it’s business as usual. Get our defensive work in and our offensive work in. This is a resilient group of kids and I expect them to come out and have a solid practice tomorrow and be ready to take it to them on Friday.”