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Humbert holds off Warren as Gahr clinches another SGVL championship

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY LEAGUE BASEBALL

By Loren Kopff

If there is a league title on the line, then odds are Gahr senior pitcher Greg Humbert is in the middle of it. For the second straight season with a different school, Humbert was on the mound in a league-title clinching game and both times he came away with a victory.

Humbert went the distance for the second straight outing, yielding three infield hits and struck out seven as the host Gladiators edged Warren 2-1 to claim no worse than a share of the San Gabriel Valley League title. It’s the second straight league crown and fourth since 2005 for the Gladiators.

One year and four days prior to Gahr’s win over Warren, Humbert got the call when his Mayfair Monsoons faced arch rival La Mirada for the Suburban League championship and he went the distance in that game, scattering seven hits and striking out six in a 4-0 win.

“I love the pressure,” Humbert said. “Pressure makes the game. Pressure is awesome. Whether it’s 4-1, 3-1, 2-1, it’s the same pressure. I love the feel of it. If you win, you win it. That’s what it’s all about.”

The California State University, Los Angeles signee was in a zone early, retiring the first 10 batters he faced before Alan Trejo laid down a bunt up the third base line. But four pitches later, Humbert got Rene Vega to ground into a double play. Humbert then worked a perfect fifth inning before running into trouble in the sixth.

“He got in a groove early,” said Gahr head coach Gerardo Perez. “He was able to keep them off-balanced. He had good downhill play. Not only him, but a lot of times when you have a real good pitching performance, you have a good catching performance. And our senior Albert [Perez] stepped up and did a great job as far as leadership and calling pitches. He has real good rapport in a short period of time with Greg and that’s made a difference for us as far as stringing some wins together towards the end.”

“In the first part of the game, I had all of my stuff working,” Humbert said. “I have four pitches, so when all four of them are working, it’s fun for me. Plus my defense played great. My defense clutched up for me which helped a lot.”

Indeed the defense came through for Humbert. Senior third baseman Kevin Franklin snagged a would-be base hit from Tony Monroy and threw him out to begin the sixth inning. Later in the frame, Humbert hit Dailin Lee, who stole second, went to third on an infield hit from Diego Soto and scored on a wild pitch.

After walking Daryl Donerson, Humbert got Trejo to ground out to senior shortstop Adonis Morrison who threw home to get Soto for the second out. Morrison would throw out another runner in the seventh inning, this time with one out, to preserve the victory.

“I think I settled with the lead and you can’t do that in baseball,” Humbert said. “You have to respect the game and always play the game like it’s 0-0.”

Offensively, the Gladiators (19-5 overall, 12-2 in league) were held to five hits from Geoffrey Noonan and loaded the bases in the first, second and fifth innings but could only scratch a pair of second inning runs across. Freshman designated hitter David Balboa led off the second with a single to shallow right. After Noonan hit sophomore right fielder Leotis Johnson two pitches later, Albert Perez reached on an infield knock to load the bases. Senior second baseman Edgar Morales followed with a fielder’s choice which plated Balboa. Then Humbert made it 2-0 with the first of his two sacrifices.

“That’s been the strength of our team,” Gerardo Perez said of his normally high octane offense. “One of the reasons we’re able to score some runs on a consistent basis is because we can swing the bat. We’re not restricted to giving up outs. Today it wasn’t very good and obviously because of it, the score was [2-1]. I felt we could have opened it up early with some opportunities.”

Gahr, the third ranked team in the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division III poll, ended the regular season on May 9 at Warren.

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