By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The Valencia Vikings (3-5, 1-0) showed no signs of preseason struggles in their 18-0 demolition of the Centurions (4-5, 0-1).
Valencia commenced the blowout in the second inning Wednesday with an unbelievable 12 straight batters getting on base.
Vikings’ ace Tyler Biggs was on fire on the mound. The senior threw a one-hitter and struck out four, blanking Saugus over his six innings of work.
The Centurions had a solid start but after a perfect opening inning on defense, Saugus imploded.
The start of the second looked promising as Centurions’ starting pitcher Connor Bates struck out his first batter in Lance Mittleman. However, the infield faltered, causing mayhem to ensue.
Three consecutive infield errors loaded the bases for Vikings outfielder Kaden Shields, who got the game’s first hit, bringing in one Valencia run.
“Any good team is going to capitalize on your mistakes,” said Saugus head coach Carl Grissom. “We made three huge mistakes today and they cost us dearly.”
Bates would then allow one more hit followed by four consecutive walks, one intentional and one hitting a batter.
After the pitcher struck Mittelman in their second matchup of the inning, Bates was pulled.
Replacing the starter was relief pitcher Paul Galaviz, who got put in a horrible three-on, one-out jam.
Galaviz’s very first pitch was launched out by senior Asher Frye. Frye sent the ball out past left field with a grand slam, taking the lead to double digits.
Frye finished 1-1 with 4 RBI before subbing out in the fifth.
Valencia attacked early in most of their at bats all game long, playing aggressively and not falling into deep counts.
The Vikings were led by senior designated hitter Chris Kishel, who finished 4-5 at the plate in the six hole.
“Previously one of the mistakes we were making was letting too many first-pitch strikes go right by us,” said Kishel. “We adjusted to that this game very well. We got the result we wanted. We got a nice amount of first-pitch hits.”
Sophomore Aiden Voyles would also join Kishel and Shields with two hits or more on the day.
Valencia would go on to add comfort runs in every inning until the sixth. The Vikings just kept rallying and would eventually get the lead to a staggering 18 runs.
Saugus couldn’t get anything going. It was a daunting hill they’d have to climb to re-enter the game and with Biggs dealing on the mound, the Centurions struggled.
“It’s always been a team effort,” said Biggs. “Even with a shutout like that, it’s a team effort. There were a few great plays behind me.”
Valencia was in their order for the fifth time before Saugus got through theirs twice.
The Vikings were aggressive at the plate and had plenty of big swings to go along with Frye’s grand slam.
Valencia now moves to 1-0 in league, gifting Valencia’s Brad Meza his first career league win as a head coach in his first try.
The teams had Thursday off before concluding their season series at Saugus on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
“We want to be consistent,” said Meza. “We want to stay consistent with our plans, with our approach and with our execution.”