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Martin’s 2-Out, Solo Home Run in 7th Sinks Simi Valley, 5-4

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks highs, which combined for 27 runs and 26 hits in their first Marmonte League meeting this season, traveled the strategic route Friday.

The league’s top offenses opted for hit-and-run plays, suicide squeezes and double steals instead of their traditional fence-bashing approach.

Still, Thousand Oaks ended the seven-inning chess match by reverting to the long ball. Lance Martin’s solo home run with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the host Lancers a 5-4 win and their first season sweep of the Pioneers since 1983. The Lancers (9-4, 6-2 in league play) also secured their grip on second place, two games ahead of the Pioneers (10-9, 4-4).

Martin’s blast, his fourth of the season and second in the past two games, ended a 2 1/2-hour guessing game between Simi Valley Coach Mike Scyphers and his Thousand Oaks counterpart, Jim Hansen.

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“There was a lot of strategy,” Hansen said. “Some that worked, and some that didn’t.”

The former included Scyphers’ call for a pitchout in the bottom of the seventh. The Pioneers foiled a hit-and-run play and nabbed Billy Hall at second base. But, two pitches later, Martin sent Brian Vasey’s 1-2 pitch over the 330-foot mark in left-center field.

“Lance made us look good by hitting that one out,” Hansen said.

That was about the best either team looked Friday after combining for six errors that led to seven unearned runs.

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Thousand Oaks tied the score, 4-4, in the sixth on Ryan Kritscher’s two-out single that scored Brett Herman. Herman was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and moved to second on a groundout.

Simi Valley had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of inning on Joe Gordon’s sacrifice fly.

After Thousand Oaks scored in the bottom of the first on a two-out single by David Skeels (two for three), Simi Valley took a 2-1 lead in the second after Tyler Nelson scored on a two-out error and Vasey drew a bases-loaded walk.

“We did some things right, and did some things wrong,” Scyphers said.

The Lancers countered with a pair of unearned runs of their own to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second. Kritscher (three for four) singled home Herman, who had reached on an error, and another error allowed Kritscher to score.

Simi Valley tied the score, 3-3, in the third when Nelson (two for four) reached base on a two-base error, went to third on a groundout and scored on yet another error.

Thousand Oaks’ Tony Siegel (1-0) struck out nine and allowed just one earned run. Vasey (1-1) took the loss despite allowing only six hits and two earned runs.


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