West Ranch baseball beat Golden Valley on Thursday afternoon 7-0 to earn second place in the final Foothill League standings behind Valencia, further proving just how competitive the league is.
“Valencia did great and you’ve got to tip your cap to the season they had and when you go 13-2 in league you deserve to win a league title,” said Wildcats coach Ryan Lindgreen. “So I think that we would have been very content with a 12-3 record (at the beginning of the season) and we feel great about the season we put together.”
The Wildcats (23-5 overall, 12-3 in Foothill League) shut out the Grizzlies at Golden Valley with well-executed plays. They scored their first run of the game in the third inning as Nikko Clarke laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Jovan Camacho.
“We’ve been working a lot on bunts and stuff like that and it showed in the game,” Clarke said.
Golden Valley (6-23, 1-14) was able to hold off the opposition by taking care of routine defensive plays. However, the Cats broke it open in the fifth inning, scoring five runs to take a 6-0 lead.
Garret Monheim hit a double, then Nick Perez bunted to reach first base. Clarke followed up with an RBI single to drive in Monheim. Sam Callan added a run with an RBI single and Jovan Camacho hit a two-run double to drive in Ryan Ilan and Callan.
“You feel the momentum,” Lindgreen said. “When someone is successful the guy on deck wants to be successful and they feel like they got a little momentum there.”
For the Grizzlies, Dylan Daszek was one of the only players to record a hit with a single in the fifth. Daszek also executed multiple key defensive plays, including a diving catch that forced a pop out off a Ryan Tucker hit. The Grizzlies were able to turn it into a double play, getting Clarke out at second immediately after.
“He gets the best reads, he a competitor, he’s a good athlete,” said Grizzlies coach Matt Sorenson of Daszek. “I see that day in and day out at practice and in the games. We kind of get used to it.”
West Ranch put up one last run as Jovan Camacho was walked with the bases loaded.
Cade Nicol pitched six innings for the Wildcats, giving up three hits while recording five strikeouts. Trent Bird pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit while logging three K’s.
“It’s always so much fun to watch him pitch and come in even if he starts a game or he comes out of the bullpen for us, it’s always lights out from him and its always a lot of fun to watch him dominate out there,” Nicol said of Bird.
Brackets for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs will be announced on Monday at 10 a.m. The Wildcats are hoping to make a run this season after being eliminated in the first round last season.
“We’re just going to practice really hard this week and just grind for Thursday,” Clarke said.