May 22, 2012 > Men's Baseball: An exciting year in MVAL baseball comes to an end
Men's Baseball: An exciting year in MVAL baseball comes to an end
By Mike Heightchew
Moving on to North Coast Section playoffs, Newark Memorial and James Logan each finished with 10-2 Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) records in the regular season. This was unusual for the Logan Colts as they previously had a strangle hold on the title.
Newark Memorial's Cougars started with what they call the "Flex Winning" plan for a straight trip to the North Coast Section playoffs. Senior pitcher Christopher Flexen is considered one of the top high schools pitchers in the state and the Newark coaching staff has worked diligently on pitching and defense in the off season - two cornerstones in Newark's bid to reach the NCS playoffs again and win the Mission Valley Athletic League title after a two-year absence.
"We have a good foundation, said Coach Phil Castellanos of his 2012 team. "We rely on our pitching, defense and base running. And that showed up this year as the Cougars battled in every game. "Every day we showed up ready to play and worked hard to try to get better." A big part of the title run this year was the backup play from Joey Torres and Logan Lombana. First baseman Torres batted third at a .333 clip with 10 runs and 10 RBIs. Flexen also provided firepower as well hitting .375 with a .444 on-base percentage. Cleanup hitter Logan Lombana (.343, 11 runs) plays third base and is the No. 3 pitcher.
Winning the MVAL crown gives the Cougars an automatic berth to the North Coast Section playoffs which start's next week. "The team's chemistry is great. We're like a family right now. We have been having a lot of fun this year and playing some good baseball," says Castellanos.
Co-Champ James Logan came into the season looking to repeat as last year's MVAL and NCS D-I champions. A tested and proven pitching staff of Alex Martinez and Ulysses Ramos gave two important performances beating Newark and then Irvington 4-0 to keep Colts in the race until the very end of the season. Amalani Fukofuka, Ralph Delgadillo and Michael Johnson all hit over .300 to give the colts firepower to stay in every game. There was no way to predict the final standings until the finals days of league play.
The NCS playoffs promise to be just as exciting to watch!