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SUBURBAN LEAGUE BASEBALL Hinds, Rosenberg lead Cerritos to league-opening victory

 By Loren Kopff

It was a homecoming for Cerritos first-year co-head coaches Scott Parsonage and Brooks Walling. But it was a pair of juniors who stole the spotlight in their 2014 Suburban League opener.

Shortstop Aaron Hinds smacked a bases-clearing triple to left field as part of a five-run fourth inning and starting pitcher Ian Rosenberg allowed one hit into the fifth inning as the Dons knocked off host Artesia 7-3 this past Wednesday. It was the first time Cerritos had won a league opener since 2009 and the win snapped a 15-game league losing streak.

“Just being the first game of league, it was special,” Parsonage said.  “And having it here at Artesia too, being a former assistant here, made it even more special. Obviously that’s just a start. We want to keep on going and we have to go at them on Friday or this pretty much means nothing.”

When Parsonage walked into the visiting dugout upon arriving at the field, he noticed five of his former Artesia jerseys hanging on the fence. Walling also played at Artesia in 2001 and 2002. But the Dons used that as motivation early in the game.

Cerritos jumped all over Artesia senior Osbiel Montano in the first inning as junior right fielder Jacob Carter tripled to the right field gap on the second pitch of the game. Hinds followed that up with a double to the same area three pitches later. After two outs, senior designated hitter Eugene Chang brought home Hinds with a base hit.

The Pioneers (2-8 overall, 0-1 in league) cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the first when Rosenberg walked junior shortstop Matt Munoz, who stole a pair of bases and scored on a groundout from junior third baseman Javier Vasquez. Artesia tied the game two innings later as Munoz, who was walked again but with two outs, scored on an error.

But Cerritos (6-5, 1-0) put the game away in the top of the fourth inning by sending nine batters to the plate. With one out and runners at second and third, senior center fielder Dylan Statham put the Dons in front for good with a base hit to shallow right. Following a strikeout, Cerritos loaded the bases when Carter was hit on the first pitch from Montano. That set the stage for Hinds, who worked to a full count before lacing a triple to the left field fence.

“My approach was just to make good contact and put it in play,” Hinds said. “I didn’t try to go for the fences. It just happened.”

“Earlier, he was a little selfish on a previous at-bat where he really got a little greedy and really tried to come out of his shoes,” Parsonage said. “That’s not him as a player, especially with his size and stature. I just talked to him about buying in to what we’re trying to get him to do. It was a borderline pitch, 2-2, and he took it and then on 3-2, we had our guys running on the pitch.”

Meanwhile, Rosenberg worked into the fifth inning, striking out four but also walking four batters and throwing 91 pitches. He picked up his third win of the season on his fifth start while Chang allowed one hit in relief and posted his third save of the season.

“He started off a little slow; a little shaky like he was a little nervous,” Parsonage said of Rosenberg’s performance. “Thank god he settled down after two batters and was able to attack the glove and jump ahead instead of falling behind early. That set the tone.”

The Pioneers will host La Mirada on Wednesday while Cerritos, hoping to sweep Artesia for the first time since the 2006 season, will host Bellflower on Tuesday. Cerritos already has more wins this season than all of last season.

“I think we’re just a lot more motivated and focused and just fired up to win,” Hinds said. “We’re expected to win these games now. We’re not hoping [to win].”