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Valley College baseball advances to the playoffs

Freshman pitcher Drew Gustafson threw for seven innings in his fourth start and struck out nine batters in Friday’s contest to help lead the Monarchs to a 6-2 victory.

By Kevin Khachatryan, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Valley College Monarchs infielder Max Aude celebrates after catching a foul ball from the Gaucho batter Sam Grunberg, finishing the top of the fifth inning, in a game against the Glendale College Vaqueros. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

A four run first inning helped the Monarchs get a bounce back win, 6-2, after dropping the first two games of the series.


Valley College (23-17, WSC 14-7) hosted Glendale College (29-11, WSC 18-3) for their sophomore night. Sophomore Brandon Cuervo would lead the offense going 4-4 and three RBI’s to help the Monarchs.


“We wanted to send the sophomores out on their last home game,” said head coach Dave Mallas. “They’ve been such a great group of kids, it was all about the sophomores today and we wanted to send them out on a positive note.”


The bottom of the first inning saw the Monarchs put up four runs with sophomore Elvis Park doubling into center field, allowing sophomore Royce Clayton Jr. to rack the first run of the game.


The Monarchs offense would continue to heat up early on, with Cuervo hitting a single into center field, allowing sophomore Bobby Velasco and Park to score. Freshman Tino Valdez followed, hitting into a fielders choice that allowed sophomore Will White to come home, giving the Monarchs a 4-0 lead.


In the third inning, with the bases loaded from two singles and a walk, the Vaqueros of Glendale College would score on their opportunity. Sophomore Adrian Gonzalez hit a sac-fly into right field that scored sophomore Alec Garcia.


Garcia would continue to be productive for Glendale. In the fourth inning, the infielder hit a single into right that brought in sophomore Tommy Italia, cutting the deficit 4-2.

Los Angeles Valley College Monarchs pitcher Drew Gustafason throws against the Glendale College Vaqueros. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

Finishing with nine strikeouts over seven innings, freshman Drew Gustafson kept Glendale’s offense in check to help ease off the offensive struggles throughout the contest.


After not scoring in seven innings, Valley would score two more runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning. Cuervo and Valdez would go back-to-back with Cuervo hitting a single that scored Park. Valdez would follow up with a triple that would cash in Cuervo from first.


After Gustafson’s seven innings of work Valley would use two more pitchers, sophomores Andy Rodriguez and Tyler Olivas, to pitch for one inning and respectively held the visiting team scoreless, securing the win 6-2.


The men in green kept the same energy going in the game. Although the offense was struggling to score, the pitching staff stepped up to cut-off the Vaquero offense.


“Defensively, we did a good job,” said Mallas. “Making pitches and staying engaged helped keep our defensive alive and lock up second place in the conference.”


Valley will travel to Cuesta College on Friday for the start of a best-of-three series, and the winner will move onto Super Regionals. Times have yet to be announced for the start of the games.

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