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April 15, 2009 > MVAL baseball week in review

MVAL baseball week in review

By Gary van den Heuvel

The Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) boys baseball season saw its first major showdown take place last Wednesday (April 8) at Irvington High School between the two undefeated league leaders - the host Irvington Vikings and the visiting defending champions, the Newark Memorial Cougars.

Under imposing gray skies and the occasional droplets of rain, the Cougars won the first battle between the two teams, eking out a 2-1 win and asserting themselves as the team to beat in the MVAL - for now.

The game was a 1-1 pitching duel between Newark's Ryan Deeter (who is now 3-0 after the win) and Irvington's Mike Rogers (whose record goes to 3-1 after the heartbreaking loss) until the top of the seventh inning when Antone Inciong doubled to drive in Anthony Sao. Sao had reached first base with a one-out single and advanced to second on a passed ball before Inciong's game-winning hit brought him in. Newark's first run came on a first inning homerun by Cody Zimmerman.

Irvington will have one more shot at Newark, in a season-ending game on Friday, May 8, at Newark that could very well be for the league crown.

Newark could very well have suffered the proverbial emotional letdown after that big win, and they nearly did, in a home game against James Logan on Friday, April 10. In fact, the Cougars had to dig themselves out of the deepest of holes, down 6-1 with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. From there, Zimmerman singled in a run; Sao tripled to drive in three; and Inciong ended the game with a dramatic two-run homer to snatch the game away, 7-6.

Newark's seven-game winning streak finally came to an end on Saturday (April 11) - but they gave up no ground in the MVAL, as their loss was a nonleague defeat in the American Eagle Baseball Classic Tournament, 7-3 to Campolindo.

Irvington rebounded impressively from their loss to Newark, beating highly touted Monte Vista, 1-0, on the masterful pitching of lefty Ryan Tella, in the first round of the Gordie Classic Tournament in Livermore.

As of week's end, Newark (7-0) leads Irvington (5-1) by a game and a half. Mission San Jose is still in the hunt with a 4-3 record (after a 7-1 win over American), a half game ahead of Logan (3-3). Bringing up the tail end of the league is Washington (1-4), Kennedy (1-5), who climbed out of the cellar with an April 8, 4-0 win over American, who are now the current cellar dweller.

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