By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Some dominating baseball was played in the opening week of league action. Six of the seven Foothill League teams faced off last week in their 2022 series, all of which resulted in lopsided sweeps.
A lot of these teams showed their non-league records aren’t everything, as teams with early struggles blasted their opponents who had relatively solid preseasons.
Three of the four first-year head coaches got the best of their counterparts and opened up their Foothill League careers 2-0.
Valencia guts Saugus 18-0 and 13-0
The Vikings’ bats hit about everything thrown over the plate in their series with the Centurions. Valencia showed tons of consistent hitting up and down the order on their way to the sweep.
Vikings’ pitcher Tyler Biggs threw a one-hitter in his six innings of work in game one while nearly every batter registered at least one base hit in their 18-0 beat-down. Vikings’ outfielder Asher Frye hit a grand slam in the first game while first baseman Jose Mariano hit a three-run homer in the top of the first at Saugus Friday.
“It’s a good start to the league season,” said Valencia head coach Brad Meza. “Now it’s about staying consistent and grinding through every day to reach their goals.”
The two senior-heavy teams also both dropped one non-league game over the weekend. Saugus lost 4-3 to Moorpark, while Valencia was dropped 6-3 by Poly.
Both teams will each face the other dominating winners of opening week in their second week of league action. Valencia will look to continue their bloodbath against Castaic this week. Saugus will look to get back on track against West Ranch.
Saugus will host the Wildcats Wednesday and head to West Ranch Friday. Valencia will travel to Castaic Wednesday and host the Coyotes Friday. All games are slated for 3:30 p.m.
West Ranch pounds Canyon 5-1 and 17-0
The Wildcats (5-7, 2-0) picked up three big wins last week after sweeping Canyon (5-5-1, 0-2) and adding a nice non-league 7-5 win over Dana Point.
Cats pitcher Jackson Canuelos held the Cowboys to one run in his complete game last Wednesday. Logan Mandel and Ty DePerno then led the offense with a pair of hits each.
Jake Schwartz would start on the mound for West Ranch in game two. The senior threw six solid innings and struck out four Canyon batters. Mandel again led the team with three RBI while three other Cats had two hit days.
“Overall, this week was a big one for us,” said West Ranch head coach Ryan Lindgreen. “We needed to have our hard work pay off with some wins. We’re looking to ride the positive momentum against a really talented Saugus team.”
Canyon has now lost three straight after a solid preseason. The Cowboys will have the week off from league action and travel to Chaminade on Thursday for their only game of the week.
Castaic takes care of Golden Valley, 17-1 and 9-7
Castaic (6-2-1, 2-0) showed no signs of first-season jitters in their sweep over Golden Valley (4-6, 0-2). The first matchup of first-year head coaches goes to Castaic’s Darrell Davis, who has the Coyotes rolling right now.
Davis’ team obviously wasted no chances in their opener on their way to win by 16 and played great in their first-ever varsity league home game, winning 9-7.
Castaic had a comfortable lead growing from the early innings but a near implosion at the top of the ninth nearly spelled disaster for the Coyotes. It would take three different pitchers after several walks got the team in trouble. But Castaic put Golden Valley away with the Grizzlies hottest hitter of the day at the plate in Jack Steidl.
Golden Valley has cooled off since starting 4-1 with a plus-41 run differential. The Grizzlies have now lost five straight and will look to bounce back against the champs this week.
Golden Valley can gain huge momentum if they pick up a win or two against Hart (6-5). The Grizzlies will head to Hart Wednesday then host the Indians Friday. Both games will start at 3:30 p.m.
Hart picks up momentum before league
The Indians (6-5) had some extra time to work things out in non-league and seized every minute of it. It was an up and down preseason but Hart has now picked up some big wins defeating Agoura 12-0 and Milikan 15-9. This was the Indians’ second and third time scoring in double digits this year and the two big wins got Hart back over .500.
Head coach Jim Ozella’s team will have one more non-league game Tuesday with Gahr before their league opener against Golden Valley. The Grizzlies are still ranked third in total runs scored in the league and could give Hart trouble.
Hart has had a busy preseason and yet have only played two home games. They’re undefeated at home and will have the chance to extend the home win streak against Golden Valley.