Valencia softball beats Hart to move into tie for second in league

When Valencia pitcher Emma Montoya looked behind her, she didn’t see Cheyanne Marxer anywhere. In less than a second, however, the left fielder dove into sight, softball in hand, after making a diving catch in the seventh inning to seal the Vikings’ 8-3 win over the Indians at Valencia on Tuesday.

“Honestly I didn’t really think about it, it’s just instinct I guess, but yeah, just trying to not let anything go behind me and try to get one step closer to winning,” Marxer said.

Marxer had quality at-bats, too, most notably in the fourth inning when she cracked an RBI triple to put Valencia up 5-1 over Hart.

“She’s a little ninth grader, 14-year-old that’s just full of energy and wants to get better and better every day,” said Valencia coach Donna Lee. “She’s a great kid, fantastic kid and works her butt off, definitely.”

Delaney Scully was able to get the Vikings (19-6 overall, 5-2 in Foothill League) on the board in the first inning with an RBI single to center field, then Valencia added three more runs in the third inning.

Marxer, who singled to start the inning, crossed home plate on an error, then Scully hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Lani Paragas. Emma Seper closed out the inning’s scoring with an RBI single.

Hart’s Aly Kaneshiro belted a solo home run over the center field fence in the fourth inning to prevent a shutout.

“Aly hit the ball hard,” said Hart coach Steve Calendo. “A couple kids hit the ball hard. We’ve got three games left, our backs are against the wall so we have to come out and see what we can do.”

The Vikings scored three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Marxer began the scoring with an RBI triple, then Paragas followed up by reaching second on an error and driving in Marxer for another run. Alexis DeYoung hit an RBI single to bring the score to 7-1.

“Once one person starts to hit, we all hit around and we just keep going after one and just keep each other pumped up and keep going,” Marxer said.

The Indians (12-9, 4-3) strung together some hits for a late-game scoring effort in the sixth inning. Maddie Reyes reached first after getting hit by a pitch, then Kaneshiro was intentionally walked. Kameryn Smudde hit a single to load the bases, then Brooke Dragoloski hit a two-run single to bring two runners in with two outs.

Montoya killed the momentum by throwing a strikeout in the next at-bat to end the inning.

“I started off strong and I just keep pushing and I feel like my spin was mostly to do with how well I did at the beginning and towards the end, it got kind of flat, which is why there were some hits, but I did pretty well,” Montoya said.

Montoya, a junior, took over the starting role this season in her second year on varsity.

“She’s doing a good job, she’s coming into her own,” Lee said. “Only good times are going to happen this next year and a half; the playoffs and the rest of league.”

Valencia scored once more in the sixth inning on an error.

With the win, the Vikings are tied with West Ranch for second place in the Foothill League. The two teams will play on Thursday at Valencia at 3:15 p.m. Hart will be at Canyon on the same day and time.

“Now that everything is all tied up and stuff, we really have to get out there and play a strong game against West Ranch,” Montoya said. “Because anyone can win at this point.”

Saugus 11, Canyon 1

Gracie Keene hit a grand slam for the Centurions in the win. Maya Avila was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs and Libbie McMahan was 1-for-3 with a three-run double. Allie Enright had a double, two RBIs and a run and Dallas Andrews had a single, an RBI and two runs.

Saugus (17-7, 6-1) play at Golden Valley on Thursday at 3:15. The Cowboys (2-18, 1-6) host Hart on Thursday at 3:15.

West Ranch 10, Golden Valley 2

The Wildcats’ Adrienne Chang was 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple and three RBIs. Delaney Bevan went 2-for-4 with a single and a double and Julie Mennuti was 2-for-4 with two singles. Maddy Flatt had a double and a single with three RBIs and Taylor Beardsley had a triple.

West Ranch moves to 11-7 and 5-2 and Golden Valley is 2-14 and 0-7.

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