On a nearly perfect afternoon for baseball at Pirate Park, the Ventura College baseball team gave new head coach Jimmy Walker his first career victory and claimed the team's first win of the season with an 11-5 triumph over visiting Los Angeles Valley College. Steele Ledford, Rudy Aguilar and Sam Langler all had three hits to lead the 15-hit Pirate attack. Ekolu Watanabe picked up the win in relief on the mound as the Ventura bullpen was strong for the second straight day.
The Pirates (1-1) took the early lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one out Darnell Prince walked, then Aguilar doubled him home. One batter later, Langler doubled to score Aguilar for the 2-0 advantage.
The Monarchs scored one run in the top of the second and third innings to tie the game before VC plated three scores in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good. Aguilar led off the frame with a single, and a batter later, Langler doubled again for another RBI. Following the second out of the inning, Shane Gipson tripled in Langler, then Eric Thrower followed with an RBI double.
After Valley scored a run in the fourth, the Pirates distanced themselves with a three-run fifth inning. Gipson walked to open the inning and Thrower followed with a single. Chris McKee reached first base on an error, loading the bases with no outs. Steele Ledford followed with an RBI single, as did Aguilar one batter later. Dayton Provost then grounded out to second to score McKee and VC led 8-3.
LA Valley scored one more run in the top of the sixth before the Pirates answered with two more scores in the bottom half of the frame. JT Heade singles to lead off, and one out later he stole second base. Thrower and McKee each followed with a base on balls to load the diamond with Pirates. Ledford then walked in a run, and Tommy Gibbons-Matsuyama singled home another.
The teams also traded runs in the seventh inning, with Langler scoring on a wild pitch after a double.
Ventura next takes to the road on Saturday Feb. 3 at Pasadena City College.