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Kennedy wins again with aggressive attitude

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

LA PALMA – Kennedy baseball has finished with a winning record in the Empire League once since 2005. But the Fighting Irish are sitting atop the league almost halfway through league play.

With a strong breeze out to left field, the Fighting Irish bats were aggressive, belting nine hits including a James Allen two-run homer in the fifth, for an 8-2 victory over visiting Pacifica on Friday.

Kennedy, which swept its season series with Pacifica for the first time since 2010, is tied with Cypress for first place.

“We have been trying to coach our guys up on being aggressive,” said Kennedy coach Conrad Colby. “We knew the guy coming into today (Jonathan) Garrett wasn’t going to walk a lot of guys. That was our approach, make sure we were aggressive and swing the sticks.”

On the mound for the Irish, Jerett Valez was solid through four innings. He struck out New Mexico State commit Joey Ortiz looking to open the game and punched out two other Mariners while giving up a walk and a double to Ortiz in the third.

The Irish (14-6, 4-0) got to Garrett in the third, with back-to-back bunt singles placed perfectly between the pitcher and the third baseman. A wild pitch moved them both into scoring position, and a double by Reilly Griffin brought them both home.

Valez led off the fourth with a single and scored with Jeff Lavespere on a Sean Clewett double.

A two-run homer by Bobby Santos to left in the fifth was the only offense Pacifica (12-11-1, 2-2) produced against Valez.

Allen hit his homer in the bottom half of the inning, and the Irish added a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Ayden Ju.

Kennedy and Cypress will meet twice in the final week of the regular season, on May 10 and 12.


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