Vikings earn split in battle of 3C2A unbeatens

Vikings earn split in battle of 3C2A unbeatens

Saturday's much-anticipated doubleheader between two of the state's top squads lived up to its billing...and then some. The twin-bill at Viking Field featured the right amount of timely and strategic hitting, rally-ending defense - and just enough pitching - to earn one win each for West Valley and visiting Mt. San Antonio.

WVC rightfielder Brianna Chambers Lee gloved a short pop up off the dangerous bat of Mercedes Alba to clinch a 5-4 win in game two. The last out released a collective sigh of relief from the Viking faithful in attendance, who watched the Mounties stage a two-out rally in the top of the seventh.

The rally was necessary because the Vikings (6-1) put four runs on the board in the first and added what turned out to be the epitome of insurance runs in bottom of the 5th. Mt. SAC (5-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a Morgan Knubuhler double after Janis Espinoza opened the game with a first-pitch single and Alba reached on a fielder's choice.

The Mountie lead evaporated just a few minutes later, as the Vikings answered by sending nine batters to the plate in the home half of the inning. Jasmine Mixco led off with a triple to right-center and scored when Gabriella Diotalevi reached on an infield error. WVC coach Vicky Piatt then turned to the small-ball page of her arm chart.

Back-to-back bunt singles from Andrea "Dre" Dejesus and Kayla Gonzalez loaded the bases for Larissa Higgins. Higgins ripped the second pitch she saw through the five-six hole, knocking in Diotalevi and tying the game at 2-2. Dejesus made it 3-2 when she scampered home on an outfield error off the bat of Chambers Lee. Daniella Simon's sacrifice fly to left scored Gonzalez and it was, all of a sudden, 4-2, West Valley, after one.

A Dejesus double play ended the 2nd, the first of three consecutive three-up, three-down frames for the Mounties. Viking starter Miranda Torres was sailing along with a five hitter through five, before giving way to reliever Samantha Mader in the sixth.

Pinch hitter Marissa Delgadillo drove in what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the 5th with an RBI single that scored Chambers Lee and staked WVC to a 5-2 lead.

Mt. SAC touched Mader for a pair of singles to start the sixth, but a Diotalevi force at 3rd, a pop-out to Dejesus at short, and a line-out to Higgins at first squelched the Mountie threat.

Mader opened the 7th by getting Emily Bechtel to fly out to Keithleen Gonzalez in left and striking out Katie Griego. Espinosa just beat out a grounder to Alina Perez at 2nd and moved to 3rd on an Alyssa Rubalcava double. The Mounties climbed to within 5-4 in one sequence when Espinosa scored on a passed ball, followed by Rubalcava coming home on a throwing error.

The game ended a batter later on Alba's can-of-corn fly to Chambers Lee.

Kayla Gonzalez led an eight-hit Viking attack with a pair of singles, while Torres picked up the win in the circle.

The Saturday morning opener, an 8-6 Mt. SAC win, was just as intense. A two-run double from Perez in the 2nd inning gave the Vikings a 2-1 lead that lasted until the 5th. A four-run, four-hit 5th chased Viking starter Ashley Nakano and pushed the Mounties to a 5-2 lead. A three-run, three-hit Mountie 6th made it 8-2 and set the stage for a West Valley rally.

Kayla Gonzalez opened the 6th with a walk and was safe at 2nd on an error by Espinosa on a Higgins grounder. Simon, inserted by Piatt as a pinch hitter, ripped a single to the right field fence that scored Gonzalez and moved Higgins to 3rd. Higgins came home on a sacrifice fly to center by Delgadillo, another Piatt pinch hitter. Perez brought home Chambers Lee, reinserted for Simon, on a single and the Vikings had climbed back to within 8-5.

The West Valley defense ended the top of the 7th with a ground out to Diotalevi at 3rd and a pair of pop outs to Dejesus at short. The Viking offense then made it interesting in the home half of the 7th.

Kayla Gonzalez reached on a two-out single, moved to 2nd on an infield error off the bat of Chloe Wright, and came home on a Chambers Lee single to the left field fence. With Wright on 3rd and Chambers Lee on 1st, Garcia looked at strike three to end it with Mt. SAC on top 8-6.

Perez led the WVC offense with three RBI on a double and single, while Kayla Gonzalez finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Nakano took the loss in the circle.

The Vikings continue their demanding preseason schedule with a home date against perennial Big 8 Conference power San Joaquin Delta Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Viking Field. First pitch is 2:00pm.



Article by: Matt Folsom