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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Beat Goes On for Hart in 4-3 Victory Over Valencia

March 22, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWHALL — Entering its fifth year, the streak appeared to be taking its last breath. It seemed to be done. Kaput.

Hart High's dominance of Valencia was on its way to an end in a Foothill League baseball game Tuesday at Hart.

But it was Valencia that ground to a halt 90 feet from tying the game, allowing Hart to escape with a 4-3 victory.

Hart eliminated a 3-0 deficit with two runs in the fourth inning and two in the fifth, raising its all-time record to 13-0 against Valencia.

Brandon Montemayor's single to right broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth.

"It's not been easy this year," said Coach Jim Ozella, referring to the Indians' penchant for falling behind.

Hart (7-2, 2-0 in league play) has trailed in six of seven victories, never by more than two runs, but always on the brink of trouble.

Coach Jared Snyder of Valencia, a former assistant at Hart, could have claimed moral victory knowing this was the closest Valencia had come to defeating Hart.

He declined politely.

"I don't take consolation in losing," he said. "I think we got very complacent with a 3-0 lead. It was like, 'Oh, wow. We're winning.'

"We got a little too happy and tried to do a little more than we're capable of. That doesn't work when you're playing against a team as good as Hart."

Valencia (6-1, 1-1) scored three runs in the third, all on the same play--a bases-loaded single to left by Richie Martin.

The ball squirted through the legs of left fielder Joe Aloisi, allowing Martin to end up at third.

Hart was only temporarily deterred.

Eric Posthumus (4-0) recovered, allowing only one additional hit until he was replaced by Bill Susdorf in the seventh inning.

With two outs and the tying run on third, Susdorf got pinch-hitter Spencer Quale to ground out to second.

Meanwhile, the Hart bats finally began to figure out Martin (1-1).

Mike Miller hit a two-run single in the fourth to pull the Indians to within 3-2.

Susdorf's run-scoring single in the fifth tied the score, 3-3. Two batters later, Montemayor stroked a fastball between first and second, scoring Susdorf.

"The wind was blowing in so you've really got to keep it on the ground," said Montemayor, who has signed with Clemson. "I was thinking fastball and he gave me one."

Susdorf and Montemayor have anchored Hart's start. The Indians are about two weeks away from getting back one of the top pitching prospects in the nation, Jamie Shields, who is out with a strained muscle in his lower back.

But Montemayor has a team-leading 12 runs batted in and Susdorf has been strong as a relief pitcher and No. 3 batter for Hart.

Susdorf, who started in right field, made an over-the-shoulder catch in the sixth inning, stealing a potential double from Jeff Green.

Said Ozella: "He and Monte have been carrying our team."

They did again, making it 13 in a row against Valencia. To be continued April 4 at Valencia.

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