Isaac Amador, Daniel Parra, Josh Eigenbrodt and Edric Rodriguez combined for 10 innings of work without giving up an earned run in Thursday’s 4-3 victory.
By Benjamin Royer, Sports Editor
Through the bitter cold, freshman first baseman Elvis Park embraced the warmth of his teammates, hitting a walk-off RBI single to prevent a three-game losing streak.
“[My teammates] showed love and I love that,” said Park after celebrating, with the 4-3 score displayed behind him. “I’ll love that forever.”
Up by two runs in the top of the ninth inning, Valley College baseball (6-3) seemed to have had the game wrapped up against Moorpark College (2-8), but a blown save from freshman reliever Xavier Dubon sent Tuesday afternoon’s contest to extra innings, where the Monarchs’ pitching staff recovered and Park sent the dugout into jubilation.
“Under the conditions that we had today, we came back and fought,” said coach Dave Mallas. “It would have been nice to pull it out in the ninth inning. But being able to walk [Moorpark] off there at the end — that was a great at-bat at the end by Park to win it.”
Despite Dubon’s blown save, Valley’s pitching staff set the Monarchs on a course for victory.
Sophomore left-hander Isaac Amador started for the Monarchs on Tuesday afternoon. Coming off of 2.2 scoreless innings of relief in Thursday’s win over Folsom Lake, Amador outmatched the Raiders from the first pitch until his removal.
The southpaw’s slider had Moorpark’s offense struggling to find a rhythm and forced its lineup to look off-balance through the first four innings. After collecting six strikeouts in four innings of work, Mallas removed Amador and trusted his bullpen to get them through the rest of the contest.
In the bottom of the second, freshman catcher Robert Velasco gave the Monarchs a 2-0 lead. Curling a line-drive double down the left field line, Velasco brought home two Valley baserunners.
Moorpark and Valley then traded runs in the fifth inning. Monarchs’ freshman reliever Daniel Parra allowed a single with two outs and freshman shortstop Dorian Asher committed an error on a grounder, sailing a ball over the head of freshman first baseman Elvis Park, allowing a run to score. However, in the bottom of the fifth, Park hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and re-established the Monarchs’ two-run lead.
Following Amador’s exit, the Monarchs’ bullpen continued to shut down the Raiders at the plate. Parra pitched the top of the fifth and freshman left-hander Josh Eigenbrodt twirled three scoreless frames from the sixth to the eighth, holding the Monarchs’ 3-1 lead.
Dubon came in to try and close the game in the top of the ninth. Dubon got one out on a flyball to freshman center fielder Jackson Lapiner, but after two singles and a walk, the Raiders had the game-tying run at second with the bases loaded.
The righty battled to strike out the Raiders’ leadoff hitter looking on a backdoor slider, but the next batter attacked Dubon’s earlier mistakes and hit a two-RBI single to tie the game at three.
Unable to score in the bottom of the ninth, the contest entered extra innings.
Needing clear frames, Mallas turned to freshman right-hander Edric Rodriguez — delivering scoreless 10th and 11th innings.
Park’s aforementioned walk-off single capped off a tense ballgame that tested Valley’s depth tenfold. As soon as the runner scored, Valley’s entire roster swarmed Park as he turned around first base, celebrating in the outfield, watching Moorpark dejectedly return to their dugout.
“Going up to the plate, I just wanted to do the best for my team,” said Park. “I got the pitch, I hit the single up the middle and now… we’re outta here.”
Valley plays a two-game series against LA Harbor on Thursday and Friday, with the first game in Wilmington and the second at home.