Regional Berth at Stake as Valley Faces Oxnard

Times Staff Writer

Chris Johnson said he did not worry when his Valley College baseball team fell behind early in its 4-3 win over San Diego Mesa in the first round of the state junior college tournament. Nor did he fret when relief pitcher Jose Banuelos committed three errors.

"The only thing I was worried about," Johnson said, "was the victory pile after we won. I'm running in there going, 'Don't get hurt!' "

Johnson hopes he will get a chance to repeat his warning today after Valley plays Oxnard in a second-round game at Oxnard at 1 p.m.

Oxnard (26-13) defeated Orange Coast, 3-2, in 12 innings Thursday. The winner of today's game advances to a four-team regional at Rancho Santiago next week.

Valley (19-16), which has won nine games in a row, defeated Oxnard, 4-3, early in the season.

"They're hot right now," Oxnard Coach Jerry White said. "They have more and more confidence in what they're doing."

Freshman right-hander Tim DeGrasse (2-8), the winning pitcher in the teams' first meeting, will start for Valley. Oxnard will counter with either left-hander Don Schwarz or right-hander Glenn Evans, both of whom are sophomores.

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