Falcons take season-opening series at Napa Valley

Falcons take season-opening series at Napa Valley

NAPA --- Career win No. 1 is in the books for new West Hills College Coalinga baseball head coach Tim Culver. On Friday, the Falcons erupted for 15 hits to win their 2022 season-opener by a final score of 18-7 at Napa Valley College.

The three-game set concluded on Saturday with the Falcons splitting a doubleheader. West Hills dropped the opener 6-2 but bounced back to win the finale 10-8 to secure the season-opening series victory by taking two of three games.

The Falcons rallied late to pull out Friday's win. West Hills trailed 7-2 after five innings before putting up six runs in the sixth to go ahead for good. The Falcons scored six more times in the seventh and added four runs in the eighth to turn a potential loss into a blowout.

Jacob Cruz went 2 for 5 with 4 RBI to help lead WHCC at the plate. Joziah Valdez drove in three runs, going 2 for 4 while scoring three times. Aiden Rocha (2 for 6), and Dion Sadao (2 for 4) both had 2 RBI each.

On the mound, Nikayha Castro closed out the contest with four scoreless innings to earn the win. He struck out seven and walked none.

The Falcons were held to just three hits in Game 1 of Saturday's scheduled seven-inning doubleheader and couldn't get much going offensively in the 6-2 loss.

Napa Valley jumped on WHCC starter Chris Lencker early, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first. He eventually settled down and went the distance, tossing six innings while allowing six runs and nine hits.

Juan Rodriguez went 2 for 3 to lead the Falcons on offense.

West Hills repeated the formula to success in Game 2 on Saturday. The Falcons once again fell behind early, as they were down 8-2 after four innings. West Hills chipped away with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings before putting together a six-run, seventh-inning to pull out the win.

Agustin Castro's two-run single tied up the ball game while a passed ball allowed Jayce Salas to score the go-ahead run.

Castro went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI to lead the Falcons. Aiden Rocha also knocked in a pair of runs with a two-run single in the second.

Diego Valdez picked up the complete-game victory on the mound. He scattered 11 hits and eight runs over seven innings.

West Hills, now 2-1 overall, returns to action on Tuesday (Feb. 1) when the Falcons travel to Antelope Valley College for a 2 p.m. non-conference game.