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Generals are baseball Valley Champs

VISALIA -- For the first time in the school's 96-year history, the Shafter High Generals are Valley Champs in baseball after an 8-0 rout of the Matilda Torres Toros on Friday at Valley Strong Park in Visalia.

Shafter got their first run in the third inning of the Division V title game, getting three runs across on some timely hitting and quick base running.

On the mound, Matteo Martinez pitched a masterpiece. Martinez allowed the Torros three hits through the first three innings, but shut the Torros down after that. This is also due to some excellent play in the field by the Generals' defense. Shafter turned three double plays in the game, as well as having four diving catches in the outfield, including the final out of the game, caught by Lucas Pena to wrap up the title.

The Generals scored three runs in the third, added three more in the fourth inning and got two more in the latter innings to seal the victory.

"These are a special group of guys," said first-year Head Coach John Hill. "We started a little slow this season, but midway through, we felt that it was our year."

The Generals now have a 21-6 record this season, more wins than the team has had in a season for over 20 years.

The team also had a message for football Head Coach Jerald Pierucci, delivered by Hill, "This is for you too, coach." It was just a few months ago when the Generals lost to Matilda Torres on a controversial play in overtime, ending the Generals' perfect season.

"Our defense was phenomenal," Hill said . "I have coached for many, many years, and this is the best defense I have ever had."

Martinez was excited for him and his teammates, but also for the community of Shafter. "Something to bring back to the town, it is a great feeling. I've been on this program for four years and I knew that we could do it, and here we are, Valley Champs!"

The Generals will travel to Eagle Rock High in near Los Angeles for the Regionals on Tuesday. The game starts at 4 p.m


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