Two days after he pulled an act that inspired his coach to compare him to Dustin Hoffman, Tony Valdez gave a command performance of a different--and more effective--sort. The Reseda High senior laid down a squeeze bunt to give the Regents an insurance run and a measure of revenge against Monroe by defeating the Vikings, 5-3, Thursday in a Mid-Valley League game at Reseda.
Monroe, the defending City Section 4-A Division champion, received a forfeit win against Reseda on Tuesday after Valdez followed the orders of Coach Mike Stone and faked an ankle injury in the eighth inning with the score tied, 6-6.
Valdez followed Stone’s orders again Thursday with one out in the sixth, runners on second and third and Reseda leading, 4-2. But this time the strategy did not backfire. Valdez bunted the ball down the third-base line to score Mark McLain with the Regents’ third run of the inning.
McLain, who had relieved Darin McGrath in the sixth, shut the door on Monroe in the seventh after walking the leadoff batter and allowing a double to Tim Costic. Adam Clark followed with a sacrifice fly to cut Reseda’s lead to 5-3, but Costic was doubled off second for leaving the base early and the next batter grounded out.
“When you beat the City champions its a flower in your cap,” Stone said. “We should be 2 and 0 against them.”
Monroe Coach Kevin Campbell might argue that claim, but there was no disputing that his team gave this game away. A throwing error gave Reseda its first two runs in the sixth and the Regents had four infield singles in the game.
“They kept the ball in the infield and we couldn’t make the plays on a couple occasions,” Campbell said.