Flipping the momentum in their favor and tying the matchup, the Monarchs lose 8-6.
By Nicholas Orozco, Sports Editor
The Valley College baseball team put up a series of comebacks on Tuesday against Glendale College, only to lose in the final frame, 8-6, failing to stop the Vaqueros from winning the conference championship.
“It showed a lot of character from these guys to come back in that position,” said head coach Dave Mallas. “They knew what was on the line, conference championship. Now we want to go out and win the series by winning Thursday and Friday.”
Valley College (22-16, 13-6 WSC) hosted Glendale College (28-10, 17-2 WSC) for the first game of a three-game series on Tuesday, with Thursday's game being held at Glendale and Saturday’s game at home. Prior to the matchup, the Monarchs were three games back of the Vaqueros for first place, and this series will also determine where the Monarchs are seeded in playoffs.
With sophomore pitcher Danny Veloz still nursing an injury, freshman Brett Edwards took the hill following his successful outing against Antelope Valley last week.
After striking out the first batter, Edwards allowed a double to sophomore Nick Sutherland and hit the next batter. However, he left the men stranded by forcing back-to-back flyouts.
Edwards did not wait long for run support. With sophomore Tyler Olivas starting the fire with a fielder's choice and then stole second. With a full count, freshman Sean David sent a single into center, allowing Olivas to score, giving the Monarchs a 1-0 lead.
Neither team scored in the second and third innings, but Glendale would break the silence in the fourth. Freshman Jackson Benattar recorded a single, sophomore Adrian Gonzalez walked, sophomore Alec Garcia would hit into a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Tommy Italia would knock in two runs from a long single into left center.
Edwards’ day was done after making it out of the fourth, with reliever sophomore Josh Eigenbrodt taking the hill.
“He just keeps getting better,” said Mallas about Edwards. “We’re asking for three or four [innings] from him. He gave us a chance to win.”
The Vaqueros would continue to pour on four more runs over the fifth and sixth innings, stringing together hits to go along with three home runs.
Valley responded with one run in the bottom half of the fifth with Olivas hitting a double down the left-field line, scoring freshman Tino Valdez.
After getting out of the sixth inning, Eigenbrodt was replaced by freshman James Coker. The left hander would come in for the seventh and eighth inning, keeping the visitors scoreless.
In the bottom of the eighth, sophomore catcher Bobby Velasco would lead off with a home run that cleared the left field fence, cutting the deficit to 6-3.
Reaching base with an error from the third baseman, David would advance to second on a single from freshman Max Aude. Sophomore Will White ripped a double into left-center that advanced Aude to third and scored David. Sophomore Elvis Park followed with a sac-fly into right-field that scored Aude, making the score 6-5.
With two outs, Valdez smoked a high fastball into left-center that scored White and knotted the game at 6-6.
“It felt great to tie it up,” said the shortstop regarding his final at-bat. “It was a big hit.”
The men in green would explode after the heroics, banging benches, screaming, and exchanging high-fives.
With the momentum and energy in the palm of their hands, coach Mallas called Olivas in from right field to take the bump in the ninth.
Olivas would get the first two batters out with a ground ball and a strikeout, but walked the next hitter. Gonzalez stepped up to the plate for Glendale and silenced the Monarchs with a two-run bomb over the left-field fence, giving the visitors the conference championship.
The Monarchs failed to respond in the bottom of the frame, ending the contest with a 8-6 loss.
“They’re nothing special, this one stings no doubt,” said Mallas.
Valley will travel to Glendale on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. for the second game of the series.