Thursday, June 20, 2024

Moorpark baseball scores in 7th inning to edge Valencia, move on to CIF-SS quarterfinals

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VALENCIA — When Moorpark baseball player Greg Lareva went up for his at-bat in the bottom of the seventh inning, he was thinking about his relationship with God — and the fact that he hadn’t had a hit all game.

“I went up there and I was like, I’m getting a stupid hit if it’s the last thing I do,” he said. “I’m a senior. I could make this my last at-bat or I could move my team on. I chose the latter.”

Lareva cracked a two-run double to deep center field to lift the Musketeers to a 4-3 win over Valencia in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs Tuesday.

The Musketeers advance to the quarterfinals and will host Crean Lutheran on Friday.

HUGE momentum swing in the seventh inning. Greg Lareva hits a two-run double for Moorpark to give his team a 4-3 advantage.

— Haley Sawyer (@haleymsawyer) May 8, 2024

Moorpark (17-10-1) got on the scoreboard in the first inning thanks in part to the efforts of leadoff hitter Jacob Shannon-Wilkerson, who singled to get on base and then stole second. He reached home plate when the Vikings (15-13-1) committed a throwing error when he attempted to steal third base.

Shannon-Wilkerson set the program record for stolen bases this season with 22. He went 2 for 4 and was walked once in Tuesday’s game.

“It’s unbelievable to have a player that will get on base, get over, get over, and then somebody can hit him in,” Moorpark first-year coach Aaron Garcia said. “He’s gonna steal a bag or two every game.”

Moorpark added an unearned run in the first inning and Valencia was able to tie the game in the bottom of the second inning. The Vikings put up an unearned run and Aiden Voyles singled to drive in Jeremy Linow to even the score at 2-2.

Matthew Moffitt hit an RBI single to score Lincoln Hunt in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Vikings held Moorpark scoreless in the sixth frame to remain in the lead. Pitcher Noah Jaquez recorded five strikeouts in six innings.

“They’re grinders,” Valencia head coach Brad Meza said. “I know that sounds cliche, but having to deal with me and this coaching stuff is no easy task. We expect a lot from them. We expect them to live up to a reputation and for the most part, they did that.”

Robert Perez singled for Moorpark in the seventh inning with one out, then Shannon-Wilkerson singled with two outs. Lareva, who has a 4.6 GPA and will go on to study at Cal, finished out the offense in the frame with his double that secured the win.

“I told him to forget about your swing, forget about what situation you’re in right now,” Garcia said. “There’s a pitcher up there that’s trying to take this game away from you. Don’t let him. He’s coming after you. You go right after him.”

Garcia, a Moorpark alumnus, is having a satisfying and emotional ride through playoffs as a first-year head coach at the school. The Musketeers ended the regular season as the Coastal Canyon League runner-up behind Camarillo, which went a perfect 12-0 in league play.

This will be Moorpark’s first trip to the CIF-SS quarterfinals since 2015.

“We’re laying down the groundwork for, hopefully, a great future,” Garcia said. “These players have welcomed me in. They allowed me to work with them. They allowed us to take what we’ve learned, add some new stuff and and run away with it. And it looks like so far, we’re still fighting.”

Scores from Tuesday’s games

Aquinas 2, Notre Dame 1

Mission Viejo 10, Chaminade 6

Harvard-Westlake 3, Bonita 2

Newbury Park 8, Summit 0

Hart 1, Newport Harbor 0

Westlake 6, West Torrance 3

St. Francis 2, San Juan Hills 1

Paraclete 5, La Quinta 0

Adelanto 5, Trinity Classical Academy 3

Village Christian 8, Brentwood School 4

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