SOFTBALL: A PERFECT SET-UP A YEAR WISER, VALENCIA'S JAVIER SCORES BIG POINTS.
Breanne Javier has developed into just the kind of hitter Valencia High's softball team needs: a batter who does a great job of getting on base so sluggers Jaisa Creps and Danyale Peterson can drive her home.
A year ago, when Creps was one of only two Valencia players with a batting average above .260 and Javier was a freshman part-timer, Valencia tried to rely mostly on ace pitchers Tori Rocco and Christina Ross. That plan was good enough for the Vikings to win 25 games and advance to the Southern Section Div. I quarterfinals.
But with eight starters back, plus Javier now an everyday first baseman and the No. 2 hitter in the lineup, Valencia appears stronger than ever. The Vikings, ranked No. 1 in the region by the Daily News and No. 3 in Division I by the Southern Section, are 21-3 (5-0 in Foothill League) after defeating Canyon on Tuesday.
Javier, a left-handed-hitting slapper, is a vital component. Her batting average is .356 after hovering above .400 for most of the season, and she's scored 11 runs and driven in six.
``Last year, I think Breanne had the skills but not the experience. She usually batted eighth or ninth when she was in the lineup, and I think she finished about .250,'' coach Donna Lee said. ``But she's always loved the game of softball, and it's been real important for her to get on base this year with Jaisa and Danyale hitting behind her.''
Javier improved dramatically over the summer while playing competitive travel ball for the Southern California Diamonds, which also featured Hart standout Cassie Neilson and Valencia teammate Whitney Lowe.
``I've worked hard, and now I've earned a spot,'' Javier said. ``I like getting up there and trying to advance the runners and get on base. I kind of think of myself as a situational hitter. If (leadoff hitter) Ashley Herrera is on, I'll try to move her over. If not, I'll try to get on base and hope someone can drive me in.''
BASEBALL: Boggio cycles back to Hart
Concentrating on baseball, not bikes, pays off for Indians
Kyle Boggio finally had to make a choice between motorcycle racing and baseball - and Hart High's team sure is glad he chose baseball.
Since giving up his second career as a fledging daredevil, Boggio has developed into a solid pitcher and valuable hitter. He has proved a stabilizing force for what has been an uncharacteristic unstable season for Hart, which is 9-11 (6-4 in Foothill League) heading into today's 3:15 p.m. game against visiting Canyon.
``Actually, I think all those years riding motorcycles has given Kyle great concentration,'' catcher Ian Feldman said. ``I know he messed up his knee riding last year, so he learned his lesson. But motocross racing takes such incredible stamina and hard work, so I think all that has helped him, too.''
Meanwhile, Kyle's twin brother, Kaulin, has gone the other way. He was a Hart baseball teammate until concentrating on motorcycle racing full time this year. He has evolved into one of the best motocross racers in California, and Kyle is excelling in baseball, so things are working out just fine.
Kyle is 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 46 innings, and he's also batting .353 with two home runs and a team-high .588 on-base percentage.
In most of his pitching losses, Boggio hasn't seen much run support - Feldman said Boggio has good enough stuff to win 10 games in better circumstances - but Boggio's spirit hasn't wavered.
``We're hanging in there. I'm happy,'' Boggio said. ``I've improved dramatically since last year (8.08 ERA in 8 2/3 innings), so I'm glad I've stuck with baseball.''
Hart coach Jim Ozella always has believed Boggio would be an impact player.
``I think it was just a matter of concentration, and he's done a great job and is playing very well this year,'' Ozella said. ``He's got a very positive attitude, and that's important. He's a senior, he's been around, and he knows what it takes to be successful.''
2 photos, 6 boxes
(1) The improvement of Breanne Javier, Valencia's first baseman and No. 2 hitter in the lineup, is one reason the Vikings are 21-3.
Charlotte Schmid-Maybach/Staff Photographer
(2) Hart's Kyle Boggio is hitting .353 and has a team-high .588 on-base percentage.
David Crane/Staff Photographer
(1) TIME OUT
(2) COMING UP
(3) SOFTBALL GAME OF THE WEEK: Royal at Hart, 3:15 p.m. today
(4) BASEBALL GAME OF THE WEEK: Valencia at Saugus, 3:15 p.m., today
(5) STANDINGS: BASEBALL
(6) STANDINGS: SOFTBALL