Northview, Baldwin Park photo gallery
By Fred Robledo, staff writer
Northview can breathe a sigh of relief after overcoming a rocky start to defeat Baldwin Park and USC-bound lefty Bernardo Flores, 8-2, to remain in a first-place tie in the wild Valle Vista League title chase with San Dimas, though Baldwin Park and Nogales aren’t far back.
Baldwin Park jumped on top of Northview starter Niko Castaneda with four hits to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Castaneda settled down and the Vikings chipped away, scoring three runs in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead, and adding a couple more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to improve to 18-4 and 6-1.
The Vikings remained in a tie for first with San Dimas (17-6, 6-1), a 10-2 winner over Covina.
“We were just telling the kids it wasn’t the ideal start, being at home and being down 2-0, but Nico did a great job bouncing back,” Vikings coach Darren Murphy said.
Castaneda earned the victory with help from DJ Howard, who took over in the sixth after the Braves loaded the bases with one out. Northview led 6-2 at the time, but Howard got out of it, then closed the seventh to earn the save.
Baldwin Park, which dropped to 15-5 and 6-3, could have moved even with Northview in the loss column with a victory. The two teams meet again on Thursday at Baldwin Park.
Tuesday’s Baseball Results
Valle Vista League
Northview 8, Baldwin Park 2
San Dimas 10, Covina 10
South Hills 11, Damien 6
Ayala 16, Charter Oak 7
Del Rey League
Bishop Amat 7, La Salle 3
The Braves are in a dangerous situation. They could either keep their hope alive for a league title with a win over the Vikings Thursday, or fall dangerously close to missing the playoffs entirely with a loss.
The Braves have a favorable finishing schedule with only two games left after this week against Wilson.
Meanwhile, Northview has five games left, Baldwin Park followed by two each against Nogales (17-4, 4-3) and San Dimas to finish the league season.
Murphy admitted it’s fun and nervous with so many different scenario’s that could play out over the final weeks.
“You’re looking at a momentum shift (today),” Murphy said. “Can you imagine us having to go to Baldwin Park if we dropped a game at home? All of the pressure would have been on us, and it’s still on us.
“You can go one way, up or way down. Every game is going to be a battle. If you take a loss too personal you can end up with two or three (losses) in a row.”
Northview’s Gabe Rojo finished with two hits, a double, RBI and two runs scored. Kollby Oriti, Anthony Amaya, and Jake Grijalva also had two hits apiece for the Vikings, and Alex Labor added a double and two runs scored.
Baldwin Park’s Justin Tellez singled and scored in the first, then Tim Wells singled home Ben Fonseca for the Braves’ only runs.
The Braves finished with seven hits, but only three after their big first inning.
“We made a bit too many mistakes and they hurt us in the long run,” Braves coach Jake Barendregt said. “You have to turn the page, we’ve been preaching that all season long. We’ll try again on Thursday.”