Late surge powers Valencia past California  

Matt Chapman pitches in a game earlier this season. Chris Torres/The Signal

By Justin Vigil-Zuniga 

Signal Sports Writer 

Valencia baseball became the last team standing in the Santa Clarita Valley after a huge three-run inning in their win over the California Condors. 

The Vikings won their Division 4 second-round playoff matchup thanks to a Lance Mittelman RBI double that brought in two runs to give Valencia their first lead of the game on Tuesday. 

The team started off shaky. Vikings starting pitcher Matt Chapman gave up two runs in the first two innings. 

Relief pitcher Jake McMillan came in and shut the door on California, holding the team scoreless in his outing. 

Valencia couldn’t get anything going on offense and struggled to bunt until the seventh. 

“They’re riding this high right now,” said Valencia head coach Brad Meza. “They didn’t play their best baseball until that last inning. They pulled it out amongst themselves. They didn’t want to go home.” 

The Vikings got two on with one out for center fielder Scotty Pieper. Pieper bunted with the game on the line and reached on a great play to load the bases. 

Second baseman Kyle Rosenfeld hit a sacrifice fly to score Valencia’s first run of the game. 

California then made the tough decision to intentionally walk Mr. Home Run himself, Jose Mariano, reloading the bases. 

Mittelman delivered his most-clutch hit of the season with an RBI double to take the 3-2 lead. 

The game was not over yet and pitcher Ricky Ojeda would be tasked to close the game. 

Ojeda came on in the bottom of the sixth before the rally and struck out his only batter. 

The Condors got a leadoff hit off Ojeda in the bottom of the seventh but the closer would never show weary. Ojeda struck out the side to keep Valencia’s season alive and send the team to the CIF Division 4 quarter finals. 

“We’ve adopted the family mentality, playing for each other,” said Meza. “They broke it out for their family and got the job done for each other.” 

The Vikings are scheduled to play their third straight playoff road game Friday when Valencia heads to Tesoro at 3:10 p.m. 

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