As Ventura County slid into the Red Tier on its way to easing COVID restrictions, Ojai Valley School baseball’s team slid into victory for its opening game of the season.
On Saturday, the Spuds rolled to an 11-6 win over neighboring Nordhoff High School.
Both teams exuded high energy and showed great eagerness to get back on the field and play a real game after the COVID pandemic forced a one-year hiatus a year ago.
“Because of COVID, I haven’t felt that energy in a long time,” said junior team captain Ryan Farrell, who pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed only two hits and two runs. “It brought back good memories being out there with the team again.”
Masked fans from both Nordhoff and OVS filled the bleachers and space surrounding the field, as cheers and shouts filled the air.
On the offensive side, the Spuds generated nine hits, with Ryan Farrell and senior Derek Mendoza leading the team with two RBIs apiece.
Ryan and Derek also split pitching duties, giving up seven hits between them and combining for 14 strikeouts total.
The team started an outfield that had zero years combined playing experience in real games, but due to dedicated practicing from the OVS team they excelled on the field.
One of the game highlights came when junior Alex Manning made a diving catch in the 7th inning, saving two runs from scoring.
As his mitt closed around the ball, the dugout, players on the field and fans exploded with cheers, boys rattled the dugout chainlink that did little to contain their excitement.
“Overall the team showed fantastic energy and support for each other,” said OVS baseball coach Ryan Pearman as he passionately told the student body about the team’s victory, “We hope to see this energy continue as we move forward.”