Baseball: Pitching and defense leads Cerritos to 3-1 win

File Photo: DJ Massey and the Falcon defense turned in three double plays and were outstanding in the Falcons 3-1 win
File Photo: DJ Massey and the Falcon defense turned in three double plays and were outstanding in the Falcons 3-1 win

Freshman starting pitcher Derek Valdez (Los Alamitos HS) tossed seven solid innings and was aided by some outstanding defense, as the Cerritos College baseball team recorded a 3-1 win over Southwestern College at Kincaid Field on Saturday. The Falcons finished off their pre-South Coast Conference schedule with a 9-3 record and will start conference play at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday when they host Rio Hondo College in the first of a three-game series.

Valdez (2-0), who threw just 83 pitches, was rewarded by inducing ground balls, as the Jaguars (7-3) hit into three double plays. In the top of the first inning, with runners on first and second, Aiden Perez hit into a double play to end the inning. After committing an error to lead off the second inning, Valdez got Luke Williams to hit into a double play. Even in the seventh inning, Valdez allowed a lead-off single, got Williams to hit into another double play and then got the final out to complete a three-pitch inning.

In addition to the two-out plays, sophomore DJ Massey (Gahr HS/Central Arizona College) made two spectacular plays on defense. He made a diving catch in foul territory off a ball hit by Benji Solano in the fifth inning, while his throw to the plate cut down Daniel Mora for the final out in the sixth inning. With Mora on first base, Perez lined a shot down the left field line. Freshman Isaiah Rios (St. John Bosco HS) got to the ball quickly, hit Massey as the cut-off, who then threw a strike to freshman catcher Alonso Reyes (Culver City HS), who made the tag. Reyes also made a tremendous diving catch on a foul pop in the fourth inning.

Offensively, Rios slapped a one-out single in the bottom of the second and raced around the bases to score on a double by freshman second baseman Dylan Immel (El Segundo HS). After a pair of walks loaded the bases, Immel scored on a fielder's choice out by sophomore outfielder Marlon Oviedo (Colegio Parroquial San Rafael N#1, Nicaragua/Los Angeles Harbor College) for a 2-0 lead.

They added another run in the fourth inning when Immel led off with a walk, advanced to third on a double by sophomore infielder Anthony Bassett (Colegio Bautista de Managua, Nicaragua/Los Angeles Harbor College) and scored on a single from freshman outfielder Diego Orozco (Long Beach Wilson HS).

Sophomore pitchers Cade Sonoqui (Long Beach Millikan HS) and Calix Armijo (Mary Star of the Sea HS) each pitched an inning to close out the win, with Armijo earning his second save.

At the plate, Rios went 3-for-4, while Bassett and sophomore first baseman Mike Santos (Servite HS) collected a pair of hits.