Monarchs start fast, wane late vs. West LA

A big first win couldn’t carry over in the final two games of a three-game series vs. West LA, as the Monarchs lost the last two.

By Henry Guembes, Staff Writer

After getting off to a smoldering start in their 3-game series vs. the West LA Wildcats this past week, Valley failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities in the final two games, losing both. The series pushed the Monarchs record to 8-7 (1-2).

In the first game of the series, Valley’s offense could not be stopped, as they tied their season-high of runs in a game with thirteen, while holding the Wildcats to just four. The offense in the second game, however, was the ‘Hyde’ to Game 1’s ‘Jekyl.’ After trailing most of the game 3-1, Valley had a number of chances to take the lead; in the bottom of the ninth, the Monarchs had two runners on base, but they were left stranded as a fly ball to right field ended regulation.

“We didn’t hit enough,” Valley coach Dave Mallas said. “We left a lot of guys on base.”

West LA’s most valuable player in the second game was sophomore pitcher Victor Takakura; the Brazilian hurler pitched six innings, allowing only two hits and one run. His effective pitching allowed the Wildcats to maintain a lead throughout most of the game. It wasn’t until the eighth inning when Valley’s bats finally began to heat up, as they tied the game 4-4 going into the ninth, subsequently forcing extra innings. However, the Monarchs may have peaked a couple innings early—they were not able to score in extra innings, as the Wildcats sealed the game in the eleventh inning with an RBI single to clinch the 5-4 win.

Following the second game, coach Mallas mentioned how “crucial” strong pitching is to the teams’ success on both ends of the field, as it did for the Wildcats in Game 2.

In the first game of the series, the team was dominant in all phases of their win. Key players of the game included: 2B Robert Berumen, 1B Daniel Acosta and P Jesse Hobaica.

Berumen, who is a freshman, ended the day going 4 of 5 at bat while earning three runs. Acosta, a freshman as well, went 1 for 3 in the game and also had three runs. On defense, Hobaica kept the Wildcats at bay only allowing one run and five hits through six innings. The sophomore pitcher registered four strikeouts and increased his record on the mound to 4-1.

The last game of the series took place on Saturday; the Monarchs lost 9-4 in the final game against the Wildcats.

West LA’s pitching was consistent throughout the match; Wildcats pitcher Grant Livornese was the only pitcher fielded as he threw for nine innings and only allowed sixteen hits and four runs. The sophomore recorded five strikeouts after facing forty-one at bats.

Although West LA’s pitching gave them the upper hand, the Monarchs managed to stay close until the fifth inning. However from then on, the Wildcats went on to score eight runs.

“We just didn’t get the job done,” Monarchs’ catcher Andrew Penner said. “Mentally, we weren’t there. We have to play better.”

The Monarchs’ next series will be a three-game bout against the Cougars from the College of the Canyons.

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