By: Kevin Buckles, Staff Writer
The 2014 season is over for Valley’s baseball team, and for the second consecutive year, the Monarchs finished without a postseason berth, ending with an overall record of 16-20.
“I definitely thought we could’ve went to the playoffs,” said Monarchs outfielder Jake Bittan. “Next year we will definitely be better and adjust to what we did wrong this year.”
The Monarchs’ roster had many first-year contributors this season, with five freshmen logging ten or more hits, as well as six of the Monarchs’ seven home runs on the year coming from rookies.
Bittan, a freshman, said that the team’s youth played a part in some mental mistakes made on the field, but overall they still played very well.
“Baseball is 80-85 percent mental,” said Bittan. “I actually think our freshmen did pretty well this year, better than a lot of people expected, but I do think most of [the team’s mistakes] was mental. It’s just little minor mental mistakes that anyone can fix, and we will [fix them].”
Despite their overall record, the Monarchs got off to a great start, winning six of their first ten games of the season.
The green and gold challenged Western State Conference juggernaut teams, in defeats. Down the stretch of the season, they forced extra innings against the Western State Conference champions, L.A. Mission Eagles. The Monarchs also lost by just one run to the Oxnard Condors, who were the Western State-North Conference regular season leaders.
“Our record isn’t a great way to show the talent that we really had,” said Valley catcher Andrew Penner. “Like every team there were ups and downs, but when we played up to our potential, we were a tough team to beat.”
This season, the team struggled holding on to leads, and failing to score runs consistently. In the Monarchs’ 16 wins, they averaged 9.3 runs scored, while in their 20 losses, they averaged only 3.05 runs.
Although the team will have many issues to address to improve their play for next season, one message that they will continue to abide by, according to Monarchs freshman Penner, is their brief motto, “pride”, given by Valley Baseball Coach Dave Mallas.
“Having pride is committing your time and devoting yourself to the team and the school you’re representing,” said Penner. “Giving 100 percent every time you step onto the field, and we always aim to do that.”