Jesus Valdez throws a no-hitter for Hueneme
Imagine the frustration losing nine consecutive games to your league rival for three consecutive seasons of high school baseball. That’s what Hueneme High experienced at the hands of Oxnard in the Pacific View League.
All that changed Tuesday when senior right-hander Jesus Valdez, one of Southern California’s top pitching prospects, threw a no-hitter to lift Hueneme past Oxnard, 2-0.
“It was a huge game for us,” Valdez said. “It’s the first time we’ve beaten them in my four years here.”
Valdez struck out 10, walked two and hit three batters to outduel sophomore left-hander Jayson Balades, who allowed six hits, including doubles by shortstop Brandon Hernandez and Valdez in the fifth inning when Hueneme (11-4, 7-0) broke through to score its first run.
“He had to throw a no-hitter to beat us,” Oxnard Coach Al Tarazon said.
Valdez, who signed with Arizona, was clocked throwing a fastball at 90 and 91 mph. He improved to 5-0, but it’s only in his last two outings that he has started to feel comfortable and dominant.
“All the radar guns back there, I guess they got to me at the beginning of the year,” he said. “After a few games, I got used to them. I go out there, throw strikes and be fluid.”
Valdez has matured greatly over his four years of high school. He’s much better at dealing with adversity, as demonstrated in the fifth, when he hit a batter and gave up a walk to put himself into trouble. He proceeded to get a groundout and fly out to get out of the inning.
“He’s matured a lot,” Hernandez said. “When we were freshmen, he’d get little temper tantrums on the mound if they started hitting him. As we’ve grown up, he’s focused and keeps it to himself if he gets mad, and it makes us a lot better as a team.”
The schools will play again Friday at Oxnard in the second of three scheduled league games.