Valencia baseball continued its conquest for another Foothill League title on Monday afternoon, riding a seven-run second inning to beat Golden Valley, 13-4, at Golden Valley.
The Vikings’ Jakob Marquez started off the scoring with a solo home run in the first inning, his first Foothill League homer in a Valencia uniform.
In the next inning, Steven Gonzalez hit an RBI double to drive in Mitchell Torres, who was previously walked. Shortly after, Gonzalez scored on a fielder’s choice, then Marquez hit a two-run double to drive in Justin Tejeda and Brock Kleszcz.
In the next at bat, senior catcher Grant Weiss stepped up to launch his second home run of the seasons, this one sailing over the centerfield fence.
“I got behind 0-2, so my whole mindset was just to stand there, fight a little and put the ball in place,” Weiss said. “I battled to 3-2 count and then got into one.”
Weiss explained the seven-run scoring spree as “pulling the rope,” a motto the Vikings (6-4-1 overall, 3-0 in Foothill League) had adopted early in the season.
“One guy gets on, next guy’s gonna pull the rope, get him over or possibly get him in,” Weiss said. “That inning we were pulling the rope pretty well, hitting the ball hard and the hits where we’re coming.”
Kleszcz added one run in the top of the third on a sacrifice groundout to increase the lead to 8-0, but Golden Valley (2-7, 0-3) wasn’t ready to roll over.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Logan Rightmyer singled to get on base. Chase Hwang grounded out to move him to second, then Joe Behan stepped up and singled to send Rightmyer towards home plate.
As Rightmyer neared the plate, Weiss reached out in a sweeping motion to routinely tag the runner. At the last moment, Rightmyer dove over Weiss’ arm to land on home plate and was declared safe.
“I was turning around the corner. I was going pretty slow,” Rightmyer said. “The spike in my cleats had, like, broke and I felt like I was slipping everywhere. I saw the ball got there and I was late and I was like man, I’m hosed. I looked and he wasn’t covering the back right corner and I was like, if I could just jump over I’m safe.”
The play had sparked the dugout and the Grizzlies went into the fifth inning with newfound zest. Evan Swailes and Deryk Engbrecht both singled to get on base, then Dylan Engbrecht hit a two-run double to score both of them.
“After that, everyone was kind of fired up,” Rightmyer said. “Even though we were down by a lot, everyone seemed to be like enjoying the game more, feeling like everyone can get a piece and put up some runs put up some hits. And everyone just kind of like wanted a part of it.”
Towards the end of the inning, Lane Farrell came in to relieve starter Tyler Robitaille, who had recorded four strikeouts and had given up nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. Farrell finished out the final 2 2/3 innings with one strikeout and yielded one hit.
“Tyler’s had a few great outings this year. Today he battled but his curveball wasn’t there,” Weiss said. “So, Lane Farrell came in and stepped up. Depth-wise we got a lot of guys who can come in and make a difference.”
The Vikings put up one final run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice groundout from Weiss.
Valencia and Golden Valley return to action on Friday afternoon. The Vikings will host the Grizzlies for a 3:30 p.m. contest.