The Southwestern League enters its final week of the 2014 baseball season and the race for the championship boils down to a few key matchups this week. Three teams are separated by a single victory and they all must continue to win to come out on top. Here is a look at what happened last week with the local teams:
Great Oak – 10 : Temecula
Valley – 2
Great Oak 1 : Temecula Valley – 0
Great Oak took sole possession of first place and now sports a 9-4 record. They have won their last three games in a row, including last week’s two game sweep of Temecula Valley. The Golden Bears fell into a tie for second place with Vista Murrieta as a result of the losses. The Golden Bears and Broncos are both 8-5. Great Oak will face the struggling last place Murrieta Mesa Rams who will try to spoil the Wolfpack’s hopes of holding on to first place.
The Golden Bears will have their hands full this week as they travel to Murrieta Valley to face the Nighthawks. MVHS is in fourth place with a 7-6 record after dropping three out of the last four games. Temecula Valley’s big bats have only scored four runs in the last three games and will be needed against the Nighthawks. They have lost three in a row.
Vista Murrieta – 10 : Murrieta Mesa – 1
Vista Murrieta – 5 : Murrieta Mesa – 1
Vista Murrieta (18-6, 8-5) powered past Murrieta Mesa to stay in the hunt for the league championship. The Broncos are tied for second with Temecula Valley and are just one game behind league leading Great oak with two games left to play.
The Broncos have won their last four games and have come thundering back into the Southwestern League race. Vista Murrieta started the season 0-3 losing consecutive league games to Temecula Valley, Great Oak and Murrieta Valley. They have been 8-1 since, losing only to the Golden Bears.
Murrieta Mesa is looking to rebound from five straight losses and become the spoiler against the Wolfpack this week in the race for first place in the Southwestern league. The Ram offense needs to come back to life and their pitching has to toughen up to beat number one Great Oak.
The Broncos last two games of the regular season will be against Chaparral who are in fifth place in the Southwestern league and are coming off a huge 6-4 upset over Murrieta Valley that essentially knocked the Nighthawks out of the race for first place. The Pumas lost 14-5 in their only game against Vista Murrieta this season.
Murrieta Valley – 2 :
Chaparral – 0
Chaparral – 6 : Murrieta
Valley – 4
Even though Murrieta Valley took the series two games to one, the Pumas put a huge wrinkle in the Nighthawks plans at winning a league championship last Thursday with a come from behind victory in the last inning.
Murrieta Valley built a 4-0 lead with two runs in the second and two more in the third, but Chaparral’s pitching and defense stiffened in the fourth and shut out the Nighthawks for the rest of the game. The Pumas kept chipping away at Murrieta’s lead, scoring two in the fifth and another run in the sixth off of a solo home run by junior Bhret Bewley to trail 3-4. Chaparral rallied for three runs in their last at bat when junior Gavin Johns launched an RBI ground Rule double to score the go ahead run and stun the Nighthawks in front of the home town crowd. The Pumas used four pitchers in the game against Murrieta Valley and it was junior Marc Saucedo who ended up with the win. Cody Cruz got stuck with the loss for Murrieta Valley.
Bewley sparked the Puma offense with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate alongside Senior Buddy Sokach, who also had two hits in four at bats and scored and drove in a run against the Nighthawks. Murrieta Valley seniors, Shad Soto went 3-for-3, scored and drove in a run and James Schmidt doubled in another run for Murrieta Valley. Junior Aaron Shackelford knocked in two runs for the Nighthawks.
The Nighthawks final two games of the regular season will be against Temecula Valley who is tied for second place with the Broncos in the Southwestern League with an 8-5 record. They trail Great Oak by a game.
Team League Overall
Great Oak 9-4 19-6
Temecula Valley 8-5 17-7
Vista Murrieta 8-5 18-6
Murrieta Valley 7-6 15-10
Chaparral 4-9 11-13
Murrieta Mesa 3-10 8-16