Baseball: Cerritos takes 1-0 series lead after 10-6 victory

Catcher Alonso Reyes went 3-for-5 with three RBI for the Falcons
Catcher Alonso Reyes went 3-for-5 with three RBI for the Falcons

Through the first seven innings, it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that the Cerritos College baseball team would post a big win over crosstown rival Long Beach City College in the first game of their 3-game super regional series. The Falcons opened up a 10-0 lead through the first six innings, but had to withstand a late Vikings (30-14) rally, as they scored three runs in each of the final two innings to make the game close. Cerritos (36-8) looks to close out the series on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Kincaid Field. If a third game is needed, it will be played 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

The 36 wins by the Falcons are the most since the team won 39 games in 1995, which was the last time the team qualified for the state championships.

Sophomore starting pitcher Derek Valdez (Los Alamitos HS) was able to keep Long Beach City off the scoreboard, although they had six hits through the first seven innings and threatened to score in three separate innings when they had runners in scoring position. With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Valdez (13-1) got catcher Luke Davis to hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning. They also had runners on first and second in the seventh inning, but a ground ball out put an end to that scoring threat.

Calix Armijo broke the school record with his 12th save of the season The Vikings got on the board in the eighth inning, which was aided by a pair of errors. Valdez saw his day come to an end after eight innings, with freshman Jack Kamalski (Edison HS) coming in to record the final three outs. However, three bloop singles and a pair of walks accounted for two runs in the inning before sophomore closer Calix Armijo (Mary Star of the Sea HS) was called upon to get the three outs. After allowing a sacrifice fly to make it a 10-6 game, he recorded outs to the next two batters to register his school-record 12th save of the season.

Armijo (pictured, left) breaks the school record of 11 saves, which was set by Mickey Manzo (2000), Nick Padilla (1998), Jason Marr (1995) and Steve Morales (1991).

Offensively, the Falcons scored eight of their runs in the first three innings to open up their big lead. In the bottom of the first inning, sophomore shortstop DJ Massey (Gahr HS/Central Arizona College) led off with an infield single and advanced to third base on a throwing error by LBCC starting pitcher Liam Taylor (1-2). Freshman catcher Alonso Reyes (Culver City HS) kept swinging a hot bat, as he doubled home Massey and scored on a single by freshman outfielder Isaiah Rios (St. John Bosco HS).

In the team's four-run second inning, a leadoff walk to sophomore designated hitter Lucas Iorgulescu (Marina HS) was followed by a perfectly laid down bunt by freshman second baseman Dylan Immel (El Segundo HS) for a single. The bases were loaded after sophomore outfielder Nico Briones (Long Beach Millikan HS) drew a walk, with sophomore outfielder Marlon Oviedo (Colegio Parroquial San Rafael N#1/Nicaragua/Los Angeles Harbor College) driving in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly. Massey drew a walk to load the bases again, with Reyes diving in a run, followed by an RBI double from sophomore third baseman Anthony Bassett (Colegio Bautista de Managua/Nicaragua/Los Angeles Harbor College) off relief pitcher Sean Lovett.

Oviedo picked up two more RBI in the third inning when his single plated sophomore first baseman Mike Santos (Servite HS), who led off by getting hit by a pitch, with Iorgulescu reaching on an error. They closed out the scoring in the sixth inning on another RBI double by Reyes, while Rios brought home Reyes with an infield out.

Reyes finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Oviedo drove in three runs. Massey, Bassett and Immel each added two hits.

Photos by Daryl Peterson