Even by Valencia’s standards, Friday’s 12-10 victory over Brea-Olinda was a little bizarre.
The Tigers, whose only consistency is their inconsistency, took Coach Mike Scheetz on another bumpy ride at Valencia. They went from peak to valley, inning by inning, but the result was worth it, even to an exasperated, but happy coach.
“That was a nightmare,” Scheetz said. “It was ugly. But it would have been even uglier if we had lost.”
As silver linings go, this one will do.
After all, the Orange League victory left the Tigers tied with Brea-Olinda for first place with four games remaining.
Of course, Valencia is in the hunt for a third consecutive league title, despite its 1-8-2 nonleague record.
“I was hoping you weren’t going to ask me about that,” Scheetz said. “I can’t explain it.”
Valencia (8-3, 9-11-2) had to rally three times in three innings for its second victory against the Wildcats (18-3, 8-3), who are ranked second in Orange County.
But why should this day be any different? The Tigers have buried themselves often, only to escape. Last week was their pinnacle, rallying from a 14-3 deficit against Anaheim to win, 18-14. Heck, even Brea-Olinda led, 7-2, through five innings this season, only to lose, 13-10.
The Tigers’ excuse Friday was nerves.
“We were real tense when the game started,” outfielder Chris Draft said. “It took us a while to get loose.”
Once the Tigers got the kinks worked out, they began to work Wildcat pitchers. Valencia had six doubles during the final three innings.
The Tigers scored two in the fourth, three in the fifth and three in the sixth--erasing a Wildcat lead each time.
“That’s the best thing about this group, they don’t give up,” Scheetz said.
They can’t, not with their generosity. But there was plenty of that on both sides.
Valencia pitchers walked eight. Starter Art Francis walked in three runs in the second inning. The Tigers also made four errors, which led to six unearned runs.
Brea-Olinda wasn’t much better. Its pitchers--five in all--walked in three runs. The Wildcats also made four errors, leading to four unearned runs.
“There was a lot of giving and taking out there,” Scheetz said. “But we’ll take it.”
In other league games:
Magnolia 3, Anaheim 2--Josh Neding scored the winning run with a two-out double in the second inning for Magnolia (7-11, 4-7). Catcher Matt Nester scored the first two runs with a single in the first inning.
Savanna 1, Western 0--With two men on, Eric Duff singled to drive in Steve Brunner for the victory. Jose Vasquez (4-1) got the victory. Savanna improved to 9-12, 6-5. Western dropped to 4-7 in league.