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By Loren Kopff
SUBURBAN LEAGUE BASEBALL
Memo to the Suburban League baseball community: don’t sleep on John Glenn. The Eagles continue to climb up the standings with their young team and all of a sudden are in the thick of the playoff race.
Backed by the second straight solid pitching performance from junior Cesar Arzate, the visiting Eagles slammed Artesia 9-2 this past Wednesday to improve to 10-12 overall and 4-5 in league action. Arzate, who lost a tough one-run complete game decision to Norwalk on Apr. 18, yielded two runs in the bottom of the first, then scattered four hits over the next five innings. The Pioneers stranded runners at third in the third and fifth innings with two outs despite getting seven hits on the day.
“We’re just growing,” said Glenn first-year head coach Jack Brooks. “We’ve won six out of our last seven and we’re getting better.”
The 10 victories are the most since 2009 when the Eagles last advanced to the playoffs and finished at 13-12 overall and 6-6 in the circuit. The four league victories thus far marks just the fifth time this century that the Eagles have won that many games in league action.
Glenn got on the board in the top of the first when senior catcher Ronaldo Acuna singled and eventually came home on a wild pitch. The Pioneers (9-15, 1-6) answered back when junior left fielder Jeremy Gaskin reached on an infield single and scored on senior shortstop Cesar Soto’s triple to the left field fence. Soto then came home on a groundout from senior pitcher Gary Smith. But after that, it was all Glenn.
The visitors took the lead in the next inning and proceeded to score single tallies in the third and fourth innings. With the score 5-2, the Eagles put the game away in the seventh on five walks and a base hit. Acuna went two for three and scored once while freshman left fielder Victor Sanchez went two for four, scored twice and drove in a run. All nine starters had at least one hit, scored a run or drove in a run.
At the beginning of the season, it looked as if the Eagles would go through another rough season with a new head coach and only 12 members on the varsity team. Glenn stumbled to a 2-7 start and after the first week of April, was 4-11 following a loss to La Mirada. Since then, Glenn’s lone loss was to Norwalk.
“No one likes losing,” Brooks said. “But sometimes you just have to be patient. We had some bad losses early but with a young group, that’s the way it happens. I would much rather be playing good late than bad late.”
Glenn will host the Pioneers today with senior ace John Lemos expected to be on the mound. Lemos went the distance again on Apr. 20 in a 5-1 home win against Norwalk. The Eagles then conclude the regular season next week against Bellflower with Wednesday’s game on the road. Bellflower entered this past week in third place with a 4-2 league mark while Norwalk was fourth at 3-3.
“Friday is absolutely huge,” Brooks said. “If we’re able to win, it will get us to .500 [in league] and then it sets up a huge week fur us against Bellflower. If we lose on Friday, the season is pretty much over. But if we get to .500, then the end is going to be exciting.”
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