Baseball: Falcons win series against Rio Hondo

Derek Valdez improved to 4-0 after a 7 1/3 innings against Rio Hondo
Derek Valdez improved to 4-0 after a 7 1/3 innings against Rio Hondo

A pair of first inning runs and the pitching of freshman Derek Valdez (Los Alamitos HS) was all the Cerritos College baseball team needed in order to defeat visiting Rio Hondo College, 3-1 on Saturday. With the win, the Falcons are now 11-4 on the year and 2-1 in the South Coast Conference. They will open a three-game series against Los Angeles Harbor next week, with the first game slated for 2:00 p.m. in Wilmington.

In the first inning, consecutive singles from sophomore shortstop DJ Massey (Gahr HS/Central Arizona College) and freshman catcher Alonso Reyes (Culver City HS) got the inning started for Cerritos. With two outs, freshman outfielder Isaiah Rios (St. John Bosco HS) singled to load the bases for sophomore first baseman Mike Santos (Servite HS), who laced a two-run double to give the team an early 2-0 advantage.

Valdez, who improved to 4-0 on the year scattered five hits over 7 1/3 innings while striking out 10 batters. After allowing a two-out single in the top of the first inning, Valdez retired 15 straight batters until a two-out single and fielding error put a runner in scoring position. However, Valdez retired the side without any further damage done.

Cerritos added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when sophomore outfielder Nico Briones (Long Beach Millikan HS) singled with two outs and stole second base. After freshman catcher Jorge Renteria (Gahr HS) drew a walk, the two pulled off a double-steal. The Roadrunners looked to catch Briones off third base, but the pick-off attempt was wild, which allowed him to come home.

In the top of the eighth inning, Valdez loaded the bases on two hits and a walk before coming out for sophomore closer Calix Armijo (Mary Star of the Sea HS). Rio Hondo scored their lone run on a sacrifice fly, with Armino earning his third save of the season, as he retired five of the six batters he faced.

Photos by Daryl Peterson