The Valencia baseball team rallied in the eighth inning, but came up a run short in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs on Friday. Christian Lopes gave his team a glimmer of hope with a two-run home run, but Valencia lost to visiting Vista Murrieta, 10-9, and was eliminated from the playoffs.
Valencia entered the bottom of the eighth inning trailing 10-7. Dominick Solley started the rally in the eighth with a one-out triple to left field. Lopes followed with a towering home run to left field to trim the lead to one.
Pinch-hitter R.J. Mundell kept the rally alive with a single to centerfield. He advanced to second base on an error by the Vista Murrieta centerfielder.
With the tying run on second base and one out, Saugus had two chances to tie the game. But Dylan Jones popped out to short and Alex Pitman struck out on a check swing to end the game.
Pitman hit a grand slam in a seven-run fifth inning. Valencia trailed 7-0, but tied the game in the fifth. Vista Murrieta scored three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 10-7 lead.
It was the first home loss of the season for Valencia, winners of the Foothill League championship.
After the game, Lopes talked about his two-run homer in the eighth inning to trim Vista Murrieta’s lead to one run. Pitman talked about his grand slam in the fifth inning and how his team battled back from a seven-run deficit.
In other playoff games, West Ranch beat El Dorado, 6-2. Saugus lost to Mater Dei, 6-2.
West Ranch is the only team from the Foothill League alive in the Division I playoffs. The team plays Edison on Tuesday. The game is at West Ranch and is scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.
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