CENTURY LEAGUE ROUNDUP : First-Place El Modena Buries Foothill Under 16-Hit Barrage
Suddenly, El Modena looks like the best team in pin stripes since the 1927 Yankees.
Friday, El Modena continued to pound opposing pitching, banging out 16 hits en route to a 15-3 Century League victory over Foothill in Santa Ana.
The Vanguards have scored 43 runs in their past five league games since losing, 1-0, to Canyon two weeks ago.
“I think that (loss) kind of woke us up,” El Modena Coach Mike Finn said. “We figured if we kept playing all these one-run ballgames, we wouldn’t win all of them.”
El Modena (12-6, 9-2 in league) scored against all four Foothill pitchers, building an 11-2 lead by the end of the third.
By the time Foothill’s No. 9 hitter, shortstop Jason Vlcek, doubled to lead off the third, El Modena already had sent 26 batters to the plate.
The offense included three Vanguard home runs: a two-run shot over the 352-foot marker in left by Aaron Aguirre in the second, Jason Wakefield’s third-inning, three-run homer to left and a two-run drive in the fifth by second baseman Oscar Vasquez to left field.
Vasquez and Wakefield each had two hits and three runs batted in. Anthony Viramontes added three singles for the Vanguards.
Finn attributed much of the success to a batting drill used by assistant coach Jim Fregosi Jr. in which players pretend every pitch is a hit-and-run play, forcing them to try for contact every time.
“We’ve finally started being aggressive at the plate,” Finn said. “We’ve stopped taking so many pitches. We’re not getting pitches blown past us any more. Once we got to their first pitcher (Jason Schwary), we really got comfortable up there.”
Right-hander Brad Gibbons (3-2) wasn’t as sharp as usual for El Modena. He gave up seven hits in five innings.
Foothill (8-11, 5-6) entered the game in a three-way tie for second, but dropped into a tie for third with Villa Park after the loss.
With four games remaining, El Modena leads second-place Canyon by three games.