By Ryan Sparks
FOR THE VALLEY CHRONICLE
Hemet scored two runs in each of the first two innings to gain an early lead and got a gem of a pitching effort from starter Augie Gallardo, who gave up just two hits in four innings of work.
“They scored early runs, got outs, and had my back all day,” said Gallardo after the game. “I have trust in our defense.”
Hemet jumped on West Valley starter Brennan McDonough when center fielder Anthony Necochea scored on a single by catcher Austin Hovivian in the first inning. Later in that same inning, right fielder Chris Wolford doubled home Hovivian for a 2-0 lead.
After Gallardo shut down the Mustang offense the Bulldogs were scoring again in the second inning. Third baseman Nathan Bagby led off with a walk and then stole second base. Hovovian singled to score Bagby and earn his second RBI of the game. The scoring continued as left fielder Garrett Denbaugh singled to move Hovovian to third base. Right fielder Harrison Garcia then hit a sacrifice fly to score Hovovian to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead after the second inning.
“The first few innings we got some runners on base with two outs and were able to focus and get that key hit,” said Hemet head coach Mike Arnold. “We scored runs with two outs and that was huge. It makes things a lot easier.”
Hemet scored three more times in the fourth inning, capped by Denbaugh’s second hit of the game, a line drive single that scored two runs and effectively put the game out of West Valley’s reach.
After a rough start to the season the Bulldogs have won two out of their last three games and have a record of 3-7 overall and 2-1 in league.
“I try to get these guys to not look too far ahead,” replied coach Arnold when asked about the remaining league schedule. “Right now guys are playing well and we’ve got some confidence. We’ve got a young team and that’s what you need (to win).”
“If we can get timely hitting and continue playing how we’ve been playing we should do pretty well in league,” affirmed Gallardo.
The Bulldogs hosted Perris Citrus Hill in a pivotal league match Tuesday and will take on the Beaumont Cougars Thursday.
For West Valley the loss is their fourth in a row and drops them to 3-6 overall and 0-3 in the Mountain Pass league. The Mustangs looked to end their losing streak Tuesday when they took on Tahquitz and will play San Jacinto Thursday.