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Villa Park offense erupts at the right time
Villa Park had scored only eight runs in its first seven games. It was looking like another one of those games Wednesday.
The Spartans were held scoreless through six innings, but scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Foothill, 4-3, in the North Hills League opener for both.
With two outs in the seventh, left handed-hitting Alex Sosnowski pulled a low-and-away pitch over the head of Foothill’s drawn-in second baseman to send home Asher Friedman with the winning run.
Villa Park is 4-4 overall. The Spartans have lost to good teams. They were swept in a doubleheadeer by Servite, tied for 10th in the Register’s county rankings, and lost to No. 5 Cypress.
The Spartans have defeated three teams that were in the season-opening county top 10: Dana Hills, Los Alamitos and Foothill.
Foothill (4-4), the defending North Hills League champion, scored twice in the second inning and once in the fourth to build a 3-0 lead. Knights junior right-hander Carson Herrell pitched six scoreless innings in which he allowed four hits and struck out four with no walks.
Herrell was removed after he reached the pitch limit the Foothill coaching staff had in place for him. Doug Magee, a submarine-style righty, took the mound for the bottom of the seventh inning. Magee had pitched 52/3 scoreless innings over four previous appearances.
Brady Howell led off the Villa Park seventh with a single and Daniel Otair walked. Pinch-hitter Connor Hein’s infield single loaded the bases with no outs. Pinch-hitter Asher Friedman pulled a chopper that kangaroo-hopped down the right-field line for a double that drove in Howell and Otair, making it 3-2, and sending Hein to third.
With one out, Justin O’Connor drove in Hein with a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the score.
Soskowski, a senior shortstop, followed with his winning hit that landed in short right field. After he fouled off the first pitch, he choked up and moved up in the batter’s box.
“I saw the hole over the second baseman’s head,” Soskowski said. “Sometimes you’ve just to put the bat on the ball and put it over the second baseman’s head to win the game.”
Foothill scored its two second-inning runs. Matthew O’Donoghue doubled, went to third base on Drake Wood’s single and scored on an errant pickoff attempt. Wood later scored on Jacob Manzur’s ground out.
Wood scored Foothill’s third run on a fourth-inning error.
Villa Park coach Chris Van Camp was relieved to see the Spartans generate runs.
“We’ve offensively have been struggling a little bit this year,” Van Camp said. “These guys have a ton of heart. There’s a lot of fight in these kids.”
Villa Park starting pitcher Jack Stein went six innings. He allowed one earned run and three hits.
The teams play each other Friday at Foothill.
In the Orange League:
Katella 8, Magnolia 0: Alex Penaloza struck out six over four shutout innings for the Knights (2-7 overall, 2-0 league).
Savana 7, Santa Ana Valley 3: Michael Kashou and Aaron Showalter drove in two runs each, and Jake Wilkerson doubled, tripled and scored twice for the visiting Rebels (2-6, 1-10)
No. 10 San Clemente 3, Pacifica 2: The visiting Tritons (5-2) scored three runs in the top of the sixth to rally for the win. Charlie Loust drove in two runs for San Clemente.
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