Canyon baseball walks off over Golden Valley 

Canyon freshman Ryder Brown (6) attempts to tag out Golden Valley senior Brayden Brewer (22) during the sixth inning of Thursday's game on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Canyon Cowboys pitcher Warren Goenner became well-acquainted with bases-loaded jams in Thursday’s win over Golden Valley.  

After escaping a pair of bases-loaded situations, the pitcher got his chance on the other side of the jam in the final play of the day. Goenner stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh with a trio of teammates on and barreled a tough hit to second base. The senior just beat the ball to the bag, allowing the game-winning run to score.  

“Just don’t get out,” Goenner said on what he was thinking during the final at-bat. “I just wanted to hit something into a gap and secure our first win against Golden Valley … I don’t remember anything going to first base. I remember hitting the ball, then being charged by everyone and then somehow we ended up in left field.” 

Canyon senior Warren Goenner (0) pitches during the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against Golden Valley on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Canyon won the Foothill League battle, 5-4, and escaped three bases-loaded jams on the day. Goenner evaded any damage in two of the jams and even upped his tempo in the second one, getting the Grizzlies batters out of rhythm and back into the dugout. 

“I just basically forgot about everybody else on base and focused on that one guy,” Goenner said. “Knowing if he hits it, then we’ll get an out and if he didn’t hit it, then we could get the out anyways. I just made sure I put it somewhere where it wasn’t a ball.” 

Canyon just escaped its final three-on jam before Goenner’s walk-off. The eventual game-winning run and star at the plate Tsukasa Ozaki was called on to close the game.  

Ozaki retired his first two opponents before allowing three straight baserunners to the bottom of the order. The senior had to face leadoff man Brayden Brewer, who was batting 1.000 with three hits. Ozaki forced the flyout and stranded the last of 12 Grizzly base runners. 

Canyon senior Tsukasa Ozaki (42) runs to third base during the third inning of Thursday’s game against Golden Valley on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“I was about to throw up on the mound,” Ozaki said. “But we’ve got some great defense. I was pressing them and I just threw a strike and then they just made a play.” 

Ozaki also led the Cowboys from the plate, where he went 4-for-4 and finished a homer shy of the cycle. The senior batted 1.000 against Golden Valley this week, after going 3-for-3 in Tuesday’s loss.  

Golden Valley nearly struck several times but just couldn’t find the go-ahead run after the first inning. The Grizzlies set the tone right away, and got the better of Goenner in the first. A sacrifice bunt and consecutive RBI singles from Connor Anderson and Mike Lizzari pushed the Grizzlies up 3-0 in the top of the first.  

It was another big inning for Golden Valley, which blasted seven runs in the third inning against Canyon on Tuesday, but the Cowboys responded immediately. 

Golden Valley freshman Ayden Renstrom (16) runs to third base during the fouth inning of Thursday’s game against Canyon on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Canyon tied the game in an instant, with an RBI hit from Diego Chavez and two sacrifice groundouts that tied the game. 

Cowboys coach Zach Newman was proud of his team for responding and playing seven strong innings. 

“We fought back and we answered in the first inning,” Newman said. “I’m so proud of these guys. We play hard all the time but our struggles have been having seven good innings. We do a lot of six good innings which isn’t good enough in this league. Today we were able to hold down seven competitive innings.” 

Canyon junior Levi Shickle (23) bats during the third inning of Thursday’s game against Golden Valley on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Ozaki led off the bottom of the third with a big triple and was brought in by sophomore Brody Bayliss.  

Bayliss, who bats fourth after Ozaki, had a strong outing at the plate, with a pair of RBIs and three hits on the day. 

Canyon sophomore Brody Bayliss (9) stays on first base against Golden Valley junior Vincent Hundelt (12) during the third inning of Thursday’s game on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“I just try to hit as much as I can and read the situation,” Ozaki said. “I have a great hitter behind my back. So I try to just hit singles and get on base for him and then let him get the RBI. That’s my job.” 

Grizzlies senior Jack Steidl tied up the game in the sixth inning with an RBI single up the middle that brought in Brewer. Steidl and Brewer finished the day 3-for-4. 

Newman was pleased to see his team prevail in another up-and-down game. 

“My first words after Warren hit in the winning run, was, ‘This job’s gonna kill me by the time I’m 40,’” Newman joked. “There was a lot of pacing in the dugout. I was going through my head and was just hoping for us to play our game and to play what they have been taught, even when the pressure is on, because that’s when it matters most.”  

Canyon now snaps a five-game skid and will look to keep building up during spring break. Golden Valley also has won just one of its last five and will look to retool over the break before returning to league action the following week. 

Foothill League baseball resumes on Wednesday, April 10, when Canyon welcomes Valencia, Castaic hosts Hart and Golden Valley heads to Saugus. All games are slated for 3:30 p.m. 

Golden Valley senior Tyler Tait (18) pitches during the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against Canyon on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Golden Valley senior Nathan Santiago (24) pitches during the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against Canyon on March 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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