Valencia baseball has a phrase for the summer: Push the envelope.
Specifically, when it comes to taking bases. If they reach a certain number of bases, the Vikings will be rewarded with a team party, complete with pizza and ice cream.
“We’re just trying to go all out this year, see if we can get another league championship,” said sophomore-to-be Caden Shields, “but we’ve gotta do it right. Be aggressive but not too aggressive.”
After Valencia’s 10-0 loss to Tesoro on Saturday at Valencia in the California Classic, eight more bases were needed in order to throw the party.
Rising senior Trevor Segraves nearly made it seven bases, but he was called out at home in the final play of the game, thwarting his efforts to score the Vikings’ only run of the game. Segraves, who is in his first year of varsity, previously stole second, too.
“I thought I was safe,” Segraves said. “I guess it was a bang-bang play. I thought I could make it. Once I saw my coach sending me I thought ‘Okay, well I gotta turn on the gears, but yeah, I felt like I was going to make it and I felt like I did make it.”
Tesoro got three runs for itself in the second inning, two on a two-run single and one on an unearned run. The Titans added another run on an RBI single in the third.
Through the first three innings, the Vikings were only able to get two hits: a single from Segraves and a single from Preston Bolder.
“We put the ball in play, that’s all we can ask for,” Segraves said. “Not too many strikeouts which is really good, but yeah, we just tried to put the ball in play and good things will happen, but today we just didn’t have our day.”
The Titans put up two more runs with RBI singles in the fourth inning and another in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly.
Valencia held Tesoro scoreless in the sixth inning and only gave up one hit. The Titans first grounded out, then got on base with a walk and an HBP. The next batter hit a single and the one after popped out to left field.
Shields caught the pop fly, but a more dramatic catch came in the seventh inning. After the Titans added four more runs and with a runner on second base, Shields took off towards the foul line for the fly ball and reached for it.
“The inning before that I kind of knew he was pulling the ball,” Shields, who was playing in his second varsity game, said. “So I kind of went in the same spot and at the last second, I didn’t really think I was going to get it, so I just jumped, laid out for it and caught it.”
Valencia rotated five pitchers in the game and were without University of Arizona commit, Ryan Kysar, who was resting ahead of this week’s Area Code Games tryouts. Tyler Robitaille and Mitchell Torres are two more capable arms that will return this season.
The Vikings lost seven seniors to graduation, but still look to be contenders for the league title once again. They’ll continue to push the envelope and host Crescenta Valley on Thursday at 5 p.m.