The Hart baseball team ended the first week of Foothill League play with a 12-1 win and their second win of the week against Golden Valley at Hart on Friday.
A close game for the first three innings, tied at 1-1, Hart freshman right-handed pitcher, Lucas Despain lasted five innings, giving up four singles and collected six strikeouts in the first varsity win of his career.
“He’s really pitched with a lot of maturity and we are really excited about the efforts he has shown all year, to be honest with you,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella in a phone interview.
“Today we were in a tight ball game. The other day was a little bit of a blowout, but we knew Golden Valley would come out tonight and play really well so for him to go out there and give us quality innings was good.”
After Wednesday’s 23-run margin of victory, Golden Valley (2-6 overall, 0-2 in Foothill League) came out pitching well and played good defense. Ozella credits Grizzlies’ head coach Matt Sorensen for having his players prepared.
“A lot of credit to coach over there to motivate his guys after a tough loss and to come back and go toe-to-toe with us,” Ozella said. “Credit to them and for us, staying on board with what we are trying to get accomplished.”
The fourth inning is where the scoring started to pick up. Eddie Tejada and Isaac Kim both brought in a run each to get Hart (6-3, 2-0) a 3-0 lead over Golden Valley.
Tyler Vannix and Ben Niednagel hit a sac fly and a base hit, respectively, to score a couple runs in the fifth. Vannix added another RBI on a base hit and Tejada another two runs on a double.
Tejada finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Ryan Benz recorded three hits and scored three runs.
“Two guys that are at the top of our lineup and we need those guys to get the offense rolling a little bit,” Ozella said. “They both got on base numerous times tonight. Benz was one base four times, Tejada three times. When they are on base, it kickstarts the offense a little bit. Tonight that helped and they did a good job.”
The Indians begin the Foothill slate with two big wins, but aren’t letting the start get to them and are focused to stay the course throughout the season.
“We are realizing that we are excited to begin 2-0, but No. 3 is in front of us,” Ozella said. “I hate to use the cliche, but it’s one game at a time. The next game is our most important game. We are trying to be as competitive with every team that we play. We have had a good non-league schedule and we are taking it one pitch at a time. Let’s see if we can get better.”
Hart plays at Saugus, while Golden Valley hosts Valencia on Wednesday. First pitch for both games is at 3:30 p.m.