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Sanchez delivers big hit to keep John Glenn baseball close to first place

NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW

By Loren Kopff

John Glenn High’s Victor Sanchez didn’t have his best stuff when he toed the rubber against visiting Cerritos this past Wednesday. The senior southpaw, regarded as one of the best pitchers in the Suburban League the past few seasons, struggled in his four innings of work, especially in the top of the first.

But he came through with his bat as his two-out single to the left field gap brought in senior third baseman Angel Chavez for the go-ahead run as the Eagles survived a 5-4 triumph over the Dons. The win allowed Glenn (13-8 overall, 5-2 in league) to stay one game behind first place La Mirada with five games remaining in the regular season.

“We just had to stick to it,” Sanchez said. “I had to stick to it on the mound. I didn’t want to let my guys down. I didn’t want to let my coaches down or the fans out here. It was a tough win. [Glenn head coach Jack] Brooks said, ‘keep fighting, we’ll get it’ and we did. That’s good on our part.”

Cerritos grabbed a 2-0 lead early on as Sanchez walked three batters and senior left fielder Jacob Carter reached on an error. The last of those walks, issued to senior shortstop Aaron Hinds, made it 1-0. Later in the inning, a sacrifice fly from junior catcher Kyle Suezaki plated Carter. Sanchez, who threw 42 pitches in the inning, allowed two runs in the first inning for the first time all season.

“I got down,” Sanchez said. “We’re shooting for a goal and a league championship and that was really the first inning. We had a whole lot of game to play. It’s baseball; we all get our chances and I’m glad that our guys stuck through it because I knew we weren’t going to get down on [the first inning].”

But the Eagles rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out rally. Cerritos senior Ian Rosenberg walked senior shortstop Jake Carr and junior catcher Hector Sanchez before an error allowed junior centerfielder Sammy Lopez to reach third base. Moments later, a base hit from senior first baseman Erick Galindo put the hosts in front.

The Dons (13-10, 2-5) tied the game in the next inning on a groundout from junior centerfielder Tyler Beyer. Still, Victor Sanchez was unable to set down Cerritos, which is trying to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 1998. The Dons would strand eight runners on base through the first five innings.

When the Dons were on defense, they did all they could to keep the Eagles from scoring. In the bottom of the second and with two outs, Victor Sanchez was hit by a pitch. Rosenberg then threw over to senior first baseman Justin Fujii six straight times, hoping to catch Victor Sanchez off guard before throwing a pitch to senior catcher Luis Rojas. On the first pitch to Rosas, Victor Sanchez was caught stealing second.

“Our coach preached that Cerritos is a very smart ball club and they were going to run us down,” Sanchez said. “They were going to pick, pick, pick until we get tired on the bases and I think that’s a smart strategy. But I think it’s safe to say that it was some type of respect for me.”

Glenn got an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth when Rosas doubled in Victor Sanchez. Cerritos would load the bases in the top of the seventh before Carr, who had replaced Victor Sanchez in the fifth, hit junior pinch hitter Erik Gomez, allowing Fujii to score. But junior third baseman Saul Ruvalcaba hit into a game-ending double play.

Victor Sanchez threw 108 innings in four-plus innings, struck out six, walked five and allowed four hits. He improved to 7-1. Carr worked the rest of the game for his first save of the season. Rosenberg, who scattered five hits and allowed two earned runs, went the distance for the third time this season. Both teams will meet today at Cerritos with the pitching matchup likely to be Carter and Rosas. The former is sporting a 6-2 record and has six complete games Cerritos will then host Norwalk on Wednesday while Glenn is home to Artesia on the same day.

“It’s going to be a good game,” Victor Sanchez said of today’s game. “Their number one put up good numbers against us last year. We barely beat them 1-0. I think he’s going to want to come out with some vengeance and some pride in himself. I can guarantee that we’re going to come out ready to go.”

In other baseball action, Gahr received a complete game performance from junior Chris Corral in a 6-1 win at Downey this past Tuesday. The Gladiators improved to 14-10 overall and 3-2 in the San Gabriel Valley League as they will host Downey today before facing Northview in a Redondo Tournament game on Saturday. Gahr will then host Dominguez on Tuesday.

Norwalk dropped a 10-4 decision to host La Mirada this past Wednesday and fell to 6-11 overall, 2-7 in the Suburban League. The two teams will hook up at Norwalk today before the Lancers visit Cerritos on Wednesday.

Valley Christian was blanked by host Village Christian 8-0 this past Tuesday and saw its record fall to 14-8 overall, 3-4 in the Olympic League. The two teams play each other today at Valley Christian, which will also host Maranatha on Tuesday.

SOFTBALL

Cerritos remained perfect in the Suburban League following a 9-1 win at upstart John Glenn. The Lady Dons (13-7, 7-0), which had blasted Bellflower 22-0 last Friday for their biggest league shutout win since whitewashing Bellflower 20-0 on Apr. 6, 2011, will host the Lady Eagles (7-10, 3-4). Glenn has not defeated Cerritos since 2007.

Gahr had no problems with Lynwood this past Tuesday in a 14-0 win. It was the sixth straight victory for the Gladiators (16-6, 4-1), who have outscored their opponents 81-6 during that time. Gahr hosted first place Warren on Apr. 30 with the SGVL title on the line. The Gladiators will then wrap up play in the La Mirada Showcase Tournament on Saturday before visiting Paramount on Tuesday hosting Downey on Thursday.

Norwalk kept its chances of winning a Suburban League title alive with a 3-1, eight inning win over La Mirada this past Wednesday. The Lady Lancers, behind freshman pitcher Breanna Vasquez, improved to 13-5 overall, 7-2 in the circuit. Vasquez upped her record to 12-2.

Valley Christian, still smarting from a 3-2 loss to Maranatha last Thursday, bounced back to get by Whittier Christian 7-5 this past Tuesday. The Lady Crusaders (10-11, 3-1 in the Olympic League) will host Heritage Christian on Tuesday and travel to Village Christian on Thursday.

Whitney went out of the Academy League to post a 15-4 win over Summit Collegiate Charter Academy this past Tuesday to improve to 6-9 overall. The Lady Wildcats will visit Oxford Academy today before entertaining Calvary Chapel Downey on Tuesday before going to Brethren Christian on Thursday. Whitney is 1-3 in league action.

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