By Ryan Menzie
For The Signal
After taking a whole season off from baseball, the Valencia Vikings showed once again Friday why they were league champions in three of the past five seasons.
“We knew that we played well on Wednesday,” said Valencia head coach Mike Killinger. “We wanted to keep the same focus level (Friday) because we have two really big weeks coming up against West Ranch and Hart.”
From the beginning against Golden Valley, the Vikings were focused, just like Killinger asked them to be. Through the first four innings of play, the Vikings outhit and outscored the Grizzlies 12-0.
The lone score of the game for the Grizzlies came on an RBI single by Cade Schwartz at the top of the sixth inning. The Grizzlies couldn’t get anything going offensively due to the Vikings’ strong pitching and outfield play.
The ball hawking outfield play from the Vikings gave the Grizzlies problems throughout the game. Scotty Pieper (junior) stopped any possible momentum for the Grizzlies with a swooping one-handed catch in the middle of the field in the fourth inning. The Grizzlies would finish the inning with a quick three-and-out.
Brook Snyder led the Vikings pitchers, picking apart the Grizzlies batters and finishing with nine strikeouts and one earned run through six innings of play.
“I just pitched my heart out, like I do every game,” said Snyder. “(Got to) stay clear-headed, forget about this game and it’s on to the next one.”
The Vikings offense clicked on all cylinders. Jose Mariano (junior) and Pieper led the way with four RBI’s apiece, including a two-RBI triple in the third inning by Mariano.
The Vikings outhit the Grizzlies 16-3 through seven innings. The Vikings also made the most of putting runners in scoring positions, capitalizing off of six stolen bases.
Despite the solid showing by the Vikings, Killinger wanted them to stay focused for the weeks to come, as they play their strongest Foothill League rivals.
“We’re just going to come out and get ready for West Ranch next week,” said Killinger. They are big games. Us and them and Hart, we’ve been rivals for years, and we’ll be ready to go give it our best shot.”
The Vikings look to keep their momentum going for a big rivalry game Wednesday against West Ranch, while the Grizzlies look to turn their season around with a matchup against Saugus.