Verdugo Hills Strikes Back after Losing two-straight

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Verdugo Hills takes a road trip to play the Mules of Wilson High the Dons struggle to put it together at first but end up dominating the opposition.

The Dons are playing in the Poly tournament coming into this one they are fresh off of two straight loses from Palisades and San Fernando High. Verdugo Hills are in need of a swing of momentum in their way to get things rolling.

In this match up the Dons decided to start Andres Mena, and he pitched a strong game for Verdugo Hills. Mena went four innings with one walk, three hits, two runs (one earned), and four strikeouts. The one earned run he allowed in his four innings came in the first inning. Mena managed to get the first two outs with a fly out to the second baseman and a line out to the right fielder. The next batter, three hole hitter Miguel Moreno, hit a ground ball towards the second baseman as Mark Ludena committed an error allowing Moreno to get on safely. Diego Hernandez was up to bat in the cleanup spot, he hit a long line drive down the left field line allowing Moreno to score. Hernandez attempted to stretch his double into a triple, but was thrown out at third.

Wilson pitcher Jose Sanchez started for the Mules. He managed to hold the Dons, but not for the whole game. The Dons were finally able to get the magic started in the fourth inning. The fourth started off with a double from Mark Ludena as he hit a long ball over the left fielder's head and got to second with ease. Oscar Berkowitz was next to bat and after being down in the count 1-2 he managed to stay patient at the plate and draw a walk. Russell Simon was next and he laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners into scoring position. Carlos Ramos stepped up to the plate next and struck out looking after fouling off two pitches before watching the next strike go by for the second out. Stanley Herrate was up next and he hit a drive to the third baseman, who did not manage to field it correctly and attempted to throw him out at first but was not successful, Herrate reached safely and both runners scored. The Dons then kept the line moving. Adrian Santiago singled through the left side and Herrate was able to reach third on the single. The next batter, Ethan Tibert, was hit by a pitch, aking the bases loaded. D’Angelo Rivas had an eventful at bat that was productive. Sanchez threw a passed ball by the catcher and Herrate managed to score on this passed ball and both runners behind him advanced on the same passed ball. Rivas ended up drawing a walk in his at bat, and the bases were loaded once again. The next batter, Cristian Banuelos, hit a strong single towards the left fielder and scored two. The final out came from a dropped third strike and the batter was tagged out. After all the action, the score was 5-1 Verdugo Hills going into the bottom of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Mena got into some trouble. He started off the inning by hitting the lead off batter and followed that by surrendering a double over the left fielder, moving the runner over to third. He recorded a swinging strike out on the next batter, but The batter following up was also hit by a pitch making the bases loaded with one out. The next batter hit a ground ball towards the third baseman for a fielder's choice at first allowing the runner to score from third. The last batter of the inning popped out to the first baseman in foul territory to end the inning.

On both sides of the fifth inning neither team managed to get on or get a hit in a relatively easy inning for both pitchers. Verdugo Hills did make a pitching change in which Banuelos relieved Mena.

The top of the sixth is where the Dons continued to swing the bats and keep the line moving. Freddie Taren relieved Jose Sanchez to start the 6th. Taren managed to get the first out with a pop up to the shortstop. He then walked Tibert and Rivas back to back. The Dons pinch ran for Rivas with David Aguinaga. Tibert was able to steal third base cleanly with Banuelos up at the plate. Banuelos singled on a ground ball to the pitcher to score Tibert and move Aguinaga over to third. Ludena grounded out to the third baseman allowing Rivas to score and move Banuelos over to third. Next up, Berkowitz hit a ground ball to third and the third baseman was unable to field it foran error, scoring Banuelos. Simon then hit a strong double, scoring Berkowitz, but he was thrown out attempting to go to third base to end the inning. The Dons added 4 runs to push their lead to9-2.

In the bottom of the sixth Verdugo Hills made another pitching change, with Chris Scoggins coming in for Banuelos on the mound. Scoggins managed to get the first two outs in the inning before hitting the following batter. The next batter popped up and the Dons shortstop couldn't make the catch, with the base runner running on the pitch, he was able to score from first. Scoggins buckled down and managed to strike out the next batter to end the inning. With the score,the Dons lead was now 9-3, which ultimately ended up being the final score.

Continuing the pattern on both sides of the ball, the top of the seventh started off with the first two batters getting out. With one Verdugo Hills batter striking out and the other hitting a ball straight to the shortstop on a line. The Dons again threatened to score with a single by Adrian Santiago to left field followed by Tiber drawing another walk. Following the walk, Rivas popped out to second baseman for the third out.

In the final half inning, Verdugo Hills made another pitching change, bringing in Bryan Rodriguez. Rodriguez walked the lead-off batter on four straight pitches. He then followed up with back-to-back strikeouts. He was able to get the final out by inducing a ground ball to shortstop, who made the throw to first, ultimately ending the game.

The Dons of Verdugo Hills will play next on Friday, March 4th at 3:00pm. They will be visiting the Spartans of Sylmar.

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