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Surging Brea Olinda Rolls Over Valencia

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Any resemblance of this year’s Brea Olinda baseball team to last year’s is purely coincidental.

The 1997 version was weakened by injuries and only showed hints of its potential. The 1998 version is hale, hearty and humming along, as shown by Friday’s 5-0 victory over Valencia.

In boosting their Orange League-best record to 5-0-1 (11-5-1 overall), the host Wildcats outshone the Tigers in all phases of the game.

Brea right-hander Scott Davis (5-0) gave up six hits and struck out seven in recording his first shutout this season. The Wildcats had nine hits against Valencia right-hander Edgar Ivarra (0-3)--three by shortstop Ron Benigno, who also scored twice--and capitalized on three Valencia errors to cruise.

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“We are playing well right now,” Brea Olinda Coach Steve Hiskey said. “When we get pitching like we got from Scott today, we are tough to beat.”

Davis, whose only test came in the fifth when he turned the Tigers away after they put runners on first and third with one out, said the Wildcats are showing opponents the kind of team they believed they could be.

“We expected to be good with seven returning starters,” Davis said. “Some of us have played together since junior high; and being healthy this season, we feel we’re on our way.”

Valencia, on the other hand, is in a rut. Friday’s loss dropped the Tigers to 6-9-1, 0-5 in league. The Tigers are in danger of dropping out of playoff contention.

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They will have to avoid the kinds of errors that plagued them against Brea Olinda.

In the first inning Ivarra’s errant pickoff throw to first moved runners to second and third. Then Andy Drapkowski scored from third on the first of Brandon Grajewski’s two RBI singles.

In the third shortstop Michael Trevino booted Travis Vaughan’s grounder. Vaughan later scored on Grajewski’s liner to center.

And in Brea’s two-run fourth, the Tigers botched a rundown play that enabled Wildcat catcher Mark Becher to steal home.

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“We’re definitely struggling,” Valencia Coach Mike Scheetz said. “We’ve got to hang together. We can still make a [playoff] run but we have to fix some things.”


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