Heralds outdone by Village Christian and pitcher Chris Davidson
by Erik Markus
La Habra Journal
The Whittier Christian Heralds fell in their league opener at the hands of Village Christians’ Chris Davidson, who threw a gem allowing only two hits in the seventh inning as the Crusaders easily topped the Heralds 6-0.
“He did a great job of filling up the zone with three different pitches,” said Brent Lavoie, Whittier Christian head coach.
Davidson controlled the game early keeping the Herald bats off-balance with a curveball and fastball. Davidson picked up four straight strikeouts to start the game and finished with seven strikeouts and a just two hits in the shutout.
Mike Rafter started on the mound for the Heralds in what looked to be a pitchers’ duel. Rafter picked up two strikeouts in the first two innings, and was backed up by his defense including a diving grab from first baseman Dakota Valtkamp to save an extra-base hit in the first inning.
However things went south for Rafter and the Heralds in the third inning, when the Crusaders singled in five of six straight at bats.
After three innings, the Heralds were down 3-0 and had yet to rattle Davidson on the mound.
The Crusaders added two more runs in the fourth inning off of defensive mistakes, to increase their lead to 5-0.
“[We] can’t give a good team a couple of freebie runs and let their pitcher pitch with a lead,” Lavoie said.
The Heralds challenged Village Christian in the fourth inning when Brian Rafter reached on an error. Pressure grew when Logan Veloff walked and was moved to second base with a sacrifice bunt from Trevor McGee.
Davidson escaped danger after Isaiah Carreon scorched a liner to the shortstop for the final out.
“If you get robbed of a hit, you can’t really control that, but you have to have a next pitch mindset,” Carreon said.
With time running out, the Heralds replaced Rafter with Chris Thompson, who gave up one run in three innings of work.
On a day where the Heralds did not swing the bats well, the highlight came when Cooper Hughes slapped a single down the right field line. The single ended Davidson’s bid for the no-hitter and kept the Herald’s hopes alive.
“I wish the other guys got a hit in this game, but it’s nice to get a hit, not go 0-for,” Hughes said.
Carreon followed it up with a single of his own for the Heralds, before Davidson closed the door on any chance of a comeback.
“The most important thing was putting the ball in play because he was striking a lot of us out,” Carreon said.
The Heralds played today without two starters in Joseph Cobian and Mike Rubio. Daniel Howard started at second in place of Rubio who is still out with a thumb injury, and Veloff started at third for Cobian who missed today’s game for academic reasons. These two reliable bats would have helped them against the star lefty.
“We didn’t have two of our starters out there,” Hughes said, “having guys in different spots threw us off.”
With the loss the Heralds open league play 0-1 but visit Heritage Christian on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.