Baseball: Team battles back for 7-4 win over West LA

Shea Estrin steals one of his two bases against West LA
Shea Estrin steals one of his two bases against West LA

After spotting West Los Angeles College a 3-0 lead, the Cerritos College baseball team scored seven of the final eight runs of the game to post a 7-4 win in the SoCal Challenge on Friday. The Falcons, off to a 5-0 start, will play in one of the championship games on Saturday at Long Beach City College. The team will face West LA again at 2:00 p.m. in a rematch of one of the championship round games.

Freshman pitcher David Hays (St. John Bosco HS), who tossed a one-hitter over eight innings in his first start, struggled with his control over the Cougars (0-4). He struck out the side in the first inning, but a pair of walks in the second inning came back to haunt him, as he allowed an RBI double to Damien Johnson, followed by a run scoring single to Anthony Angel. On the Angel hit, Johnson was thrown out at the plate by sophomore center fielder Buck Anderson (Lakewood HS/Cal State Bakersfield), who repeated his performance in the seventh inning for the final out of the stanza.

West LA pitcher Taylor Proo baffled the Falcons the first time through the lineup, with Anderson laying down a bunt for a single to start the bottom of the fourth inning. He was forced out on the next play, but it gave the team confidence that they could hit the pitcher.

Hays led off the fifth inning with a deep double off the left-center field wall and advanced to third in a infield single by sophomore Bodie Parker (Cajon HS/Chaffey College), who moved to second base on a throwing error. Sophomore outfielder Nicholas Martinez (La Serna HS) got the team on the board with a sacrifice fly, while sophomore Shea Estrin (West Torrance HS) singled in a run and then wreaked havoc on the bases. He stole second base, and took off for third base on the next pitch, but was called back when the umpire called interference on himself. That didn't deter Estrin, who stole third anyway and scored when the throw by catcher Jordan Durrell went over the head of third baseman George Eaves, which tied the game at 3-3.

Through the first three innings, Hays struck out five batters, but saw three of his four walks come around to score. An RBI single by Josh Carrillo drove in the third run, but Hays settled down and retired 10 of the final batters he faced, which included five more strikeouts.

Cerritos took the lead in the sixth inning, thanks to five walks from relief pitcher Sam Wilson. Estrin and sophomore catcher Owen Beebe (Long Beach Millikan HS/Golden West College) drew bases loaded free passes to bring home the two runs in the inning, with the Falcons adding two more runs in the seventh inning, thanks in part to another West LA error.

Sophomore shortstop Alex Bueno (Centennial, NV HS) sacrificed freshman second baseman Andres Vega (Mary Star of the Sea HS) to second base to start the seventh inning, while a throwing error by defensive replacement Jacob Kalt at shortstop off the bat of sophomore third baseman Richard Castro (Bishop Amat HS/Cal State San Bernardino) brought home Vega. After Hays was intentionally walked and Parker drew a walk, Martinez fouled out to left field, with Castro tagging up to score.

Hays came out after six innings, with freshman Omar Rodarte (Firebaugh HS) coming on in relief. He allowed one run on three hits in his lone inning, while sophomore John Chavez (St. John Bosco HS) came in to pitch the final two innings and struck out four of the seven batters he faced to earn the save.

Photos by Daryl Peterson