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March 25, 2009 > MVAL baseball starts league play

MVAL baseball starts league play

By Gary van den Heuvel

The Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) baseball teams began their league play with some unsurprising results based on past history.

The defending MVAL champions, the Newark Memorial Cougars, came off a 4-3 nonleague schedule preseason in fine form, beginning their league schedule with a 10-6 road victory over the James Logan Colts on Wednesday, March 19. Newark took advantage of Logan's depleted pitching staff with a three-run first inning and two in the third. Cougar shortstop Cody Zimmerman was a big contributor at the plate with a 2-3 game, including a first inning two-run homerun and two runs scored.

Teammate Anthony Sao had a stellar game as well, going 2-2 with his own two-run homer in the third inning. Logan scored twice in the first off a two-run dinger from Andrew Rodriguez but had to play catch-up all game and the Cougar bats were just too potent on this day.

Logan's major struggle this season is its lack of pitching depth, but Pascual Flores stepped up and was the catalyst in the Colts' first win of the year, a 4-0 road victory over Kennedy on Thursday. Flores pitched six and a third shutout innings and delivered with the bat as well, going 2-2 at the plate, and scoring two runs. Despite Logan's unimpressive 1-7 overall record, their 1-1 MVAL start puts them right in the thick of the race for the league title.

Newark Memorial went 2-0 in MVAL play with a 5-4 home win over the American Eagles. The Cougars, who were unbeaten (12-0) in league play last year, kept their undefeated MVAL streak alive with home runs from familiar sources - Zimmerman and Sao.

If the preseason is any indication, Newark will be facing a legitimate contender in the Irvington Vikings, who flexed their batting muscles last week with three wins (two of them against non-MVAL opponents). On Wednesday, March 18, the Vikings visited Kennedy and clubbed the Titans, 16-4, with an 11-run outburst in the fifth and sixth innings. Trevor Ramos was a one-man wrecking crew, going 4- 4 with a double, 4 RBI and one run scored. Ross Larson actually one-upped his teammate with a 5- 5 game, including two RBI. Ryan Tella also added two RBI on his three hits, which included a double and triple.

Following the JFK drubbing, Irvington (7-1 overall and 1-0 in MVAL play) won a relatively quiet 3-1 roadie at Amador Valley, and then clocked Pinole Valley, 14-4, at home on Saturday.

Tied for first with Newark is Mission San Jose, also at 2-0 in league, 6-3 overall. Mission opened their league play with an 8-4 win at American (0-2 in MVAL) and a 6-3 home win over Washington (0-1 in MVAL, 4-5 overall). Mission ended the week on a downer, dropping a 5-4 decision at nonleague foe Northgate.

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