By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Foothill League Baseball Standings
- Hart (16-8, 8-0)*
- Valencia (12-9, 8-2)*
- West Ranch (11-12, 5-3)
- Castaic (8-11, 4-4)
- Canyon (9-10-1, 2-6)
- Saugus (8-14, 2-6)
- Golden Valley (6-14, 1-9)
*Clinched playoff berth
Now in the home stretch of the season, teams are starting to officially clinch their playoff berths. A pair of sweeps sealed the deal for the top two teams that will face off for first place in two weeks.
Hart sweeps West Ranch
The Indians remained perfect in Foothill League action with their toughest test of the season in the Wildcats. Hart won the first game 6-1, holding one of the better-hitting teams in West Ranch to four hits. The Cats’ bats woke up in their home league matchup but the team still fell short, 6-3. The team played well but Hart managed to force enough errors and strand enough West Ranch runners.
The Indians’ win streak ended over the weekend in their 4-0 loss to El Segundo. Hart got the wins it needed, though, and will head to the postseason.
West Ranch has played well and is in good shape for making the Division 1 playoffs. The team will need to keep up its pace and finish strong to see baseball in May.
Valencia routes Golden Valley in season sweep
Valencia is sparking at the right time. The Vikings have won six of their last seven, with the sole loss coming from the best team in the state in Sierra Canyon.
Valencia’s bats have kept them alive in every game so far this season and it showed as they swept the Grizzlies comfortably winning a combined 36-3.
Vikings senior Asher Frye led the team in the series with six hits. Frye was one of five Valencia batters with three-hit days in the Vikings’ first win over Golden Valley.
The Grizzlies are officially eliminated from playoff contention and will have just one more week of Foothill League action in their series with West Ranch. Golden Valley will play in a flurry of non-league games after their league series finale, in hopes to end the season on a positive note.
Valencia will head into its league bye week before returning to face Hart for the Foothill League title. In the meantime, the Vikings will look to keep things cooking with some stiff non-league action this week with Chaminade, Crespi and Simi Valley.
Canyon splits with Castaic
The Cowboys managed to surprise the hosting Coyotes 6-2 in their first league matchup. The loss marked seven in a row for Castaic, which looked to be skidding in midseason. However, the Coyotes got healthy over spring break and, after dropping the first game, they managed to win the second in extra innings.
Castaic outfielder Joji Sakata led the team with a monster two-home-run day. Sakata finished 3-5 with 4 RBI.
Sakata hit the go-ahead dinger to lead off the eighth inning before a sacrifice fly from Tyler Hawn scored the eventual game-winning run.
Canyon would get its chance in the bottom of the eighth, first scoring on a fielder’s choice groundout. However, with a runner on third, Castaic closer Aaron Gonzalez struck out Canyon first baseman Travis Enbody, ending the game 8-7.
Castaic currently sits in fourth and has a good shot at a playoff appearance in the program’s inaugural varsity year. They’ll need a few more wins to seal the deal but will have a big week with Saugus also fighting for their playoff lives.
Canyon has found life over the last few weeks. The Cowboys will need to win out for a sure shot at the playoffs but can still hope for an at-large bid should they remain in fifth for the rest of the season.
Foothill League week 5 schedule
Chaminade @ Valencia at 3:30 p.m.
Hart @ Canyon at 3:30 p.m.
Castaic @ Saugus at 3:30 p.m.
Golden Valley @ West Ranch at 3:30 p.m.
Crespi @ Valencia at 3:30 p.m.
Valencia @ Simi Valley at 3:30 p.m.
Canyon @ Hart at 3:30 p.m.
Saugus @ Castaic at 3:30 p.m.
West Ranch @ Golden Valley at 3:30 p.m.
Granada Hills Charter @ West Ranch at 10 a.m.
Castaic @ Poly at 10 a.m.
Saugus @ Serra at 11 a.m.
Golden Valley @ Palisades at 1:30 p.m.