Hart baseball holds off Sierra Canyon 

Hart infielder Matthew Perez (22) slides into home plate during the fourth inning of Saturday's game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart infielder Matthew Perez (22) slides into home plate during the fourth inning of Saturday's game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Hart Indians baseball was outhit and ran into trouble in nearly every inning against the visiting Sierra Canyon Trailblazers. 

Yet, they prevailed. 

The Trailblazers worked the Indians into multiple bases-loaded situations in their Saturday tournament matchup, but Hart held strong through every jam. 

Hart won the game, 6-3, as a result of patience at the plate and timely solid defense that stranded 14 Blazer base runners on the day. 

“That’s a good Division 1 team over there and I thought our guys competed,” said Hart coach Jim Ozella. “It might not have been very pretty but some days you win pretty, some days you win ugly. Today we won ugly.” 

The Indians (5-2) broke the game open in the fourth inning when the team brought in four runs.  

Hart pitcher Tristan Purfoy (25) pitches during the fourth inning on Saturday's game against Sierra Canyon. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart pitcher Tristan Purfoy (25) pitches during the fourth inning on Saturday’s game against Sierra Canyon. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Sierra starting pitcher Brayden Charness’ day was done after back-to-back walks that loaded the bases in a two-out jam with the top of the Hart order due up.  

Indians senior Brayden Jefferis got the better of the Trailblazer reliever and sent a shallow shot to left that scored a pair of runs, tying the game at 3-3.  

Jefferis, a Michigan commit, led Hart, going 2-for-3 at the plate, and reached first base four times. 

Senior Matthew Perez was nearly caught in a rundown but capitalized on a bad pass to the plate and slid home for the go-ahead run. Jefferis didn’t waste a beat, either, and swooped in to score the 5-3 run. 

Junior Michael Hogen brought in the first run of the day on a sacrifice fly in the third and was later rewarded with a sacrifice bunt from Alex Howard that brought Hogen home in the fifth. 

Hart infielder Brayden Jefferis (2) bats during the fourth inning of Saturday's game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart infielder Brayden Jefferis (2) bats during the fourth inning of Saturday’s game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

The Blazers (4-2) loaded up the bases in three innings but only scored off the jam once. 

Sierra Canyon was led by freshmen Aiden Jahng, and leadoff man Dezi Delgado, who both reached base four times. Jahng matched Jefferis with a pair of hits on Saturday. 

The Blazers are led by baseball legend Tom Meusborn, who led Chatsworth to over 500 wins, eight city titles and a pair of national championships. Meusborn and Hart coach Jim Ozella have gone head-to-head numerous times over the years and have nothing but mutual respect. 

“He’s one of the best there is. I respect the job he does,” Ozella said. “He’s got a young team over there. They’re gonna get better. He does a great job and he’s always been outstanding.” 

Hart infielder Luke McCarty (14) runs to home plate during the fourth inning of Saturday's game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart infielder Luke McCarty (14) runs to home plate during the fourth inning of Saturday’s game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Indians senior Taj Brar got the start on Saturday but was pulled early due to an injury. Ozella sent out four pitchers on the day, including senior Ian Edwards, who notched the save for Hart.  

Edwards allowed just one hit and retired five straight in his 2.2 innings of work. 

The senior and teammate Tristan Purfoy both throw sidearm on the mound for Hart. Ozella has seen a handful of submarine pitchers come through the program and encourages the athletes to play to their strengths. 

“That’s their style and they’ve been really good for us,” Ozella said. “I thought both of them were pretty good again today. We’re asking them to come in and get outs, and for the most part, they did a good job. We’ll go sub. We don’t have a problem going sub.” 

Hart is off to a strong start to the season with just a little over a week left before Foothill League play begins.  

The Indians head to Gahr on Tuesday while Sierra Canyon enters Mission League play back at home against Harvard-Westlake. 

The Indians will be on the road next week for a handful of non-league contests before returning home to host Valencia in their league opener on Wednesday, March 6. 

Hart outfielder Alex Howard (24) bunts during the fourth inning of Saturday's game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart outfielder Alex Howard (24) bunts during the fourth inning of Saturday’s game against Sierra Canyon on Feb. 24. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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