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SUBURBAN LEAGUE BASEBALL
By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
BELLFLOWER-The final three weeks of the regular season, a.k.a. the stretch drive, didn’t begin on a good note for the Cerritos High baseball team with its top hurler on the mound. Head coach Scott Parsonage gave the ball to senior Jamriel Rodriguez opposite Bellflower’s ace Ricky Ramos and the former had a game he wishes he had back.
Rodriquez went into the fourth inning, giving up five hits, walking three and striking out three as Bellflower scored in only two innings during a 7-2 decision. The Dons, who are trailing the Buccaneers in the Suburban League standings, dropped to 11-11 overall and 4-3 in the circuit. Bellflower improved to 8-1 in league action.
Rodriquez had pitched on the back end of the home and home series against Artesia High and Mayfair High but because the game against Mayfair was on a Monday, he didn’t have a chance to start against league-leading La Mirada High two weeks ago. Rodriguez last pitched at Royal High on Apr. 21 prior to the Bellflower game
“If you’re going for second place, you have to win one before at least [getting] a split,” Parsonage said. “He didn’t have his best stuff. He threw 55 pitches, I got him out of there and we still have him for six [innings] on Friday.”
The Dons were looking good in the top of the first inning and with one out, senior center fielder Tyler Beyer singled and stole second. Then with two outs, Rodriguez doubled to the centerfield wall. Ramos would walk senior third baseman Kyle Suezaki and the visitors were looking good.
But Ramos struck out freshman Bernardo DeLeon for the first of his six strikeouts in the game. After that, Cerritos would not get a runner past second until the sixth inning.
“In the first inning, we were alright,” Parsonage said. “We just didn’t get another two-out hit to score that other run. Then in the next inning, we had a batter up with a 3-1 count and instead of having a quality hack, he has a lazy foul off hack on a 3-1 count when he should be driving the baseball.”
Ramos entered the game allowing nine runs in 44 innings and had consecutive complete game shutouts against Norwalk High and Artesia on Apr. 11 and 15 respectively. From the second through the fifth innings, Ramos gave up two hits and walked one but still faced the minimum during that time. A double play ended the third and a runner in each of the next two frames would get caught stealing.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers gave Ramos all the support he needed in the bottom of the second. Anthony Garcia singled and advanced to third on an error on the same play. On the next pitch, he came home on a sacrifice fly from Ramos. Later in the inning, Joseph Borges tripled in two more runs to make it 4-1.
Bellflower added to its lead two innings later when Aaron Orozco singled and David Izarraraz was walked on four pitches. Joshua Montero then came up and put down a bunt up the third base line to plate Orozco and signal the end for Rodriguez.
Junior Jonathan Estrada replaced Rodriguez and walked Borges to load the bases before a walk and an error led to the final two runs.
Cerritos tried to mount a late rally in the sixth when junior shortstop Trevor McInerney singled and went to second on a groundout from Beyer. Junior catcher Brett Wells had a base hit to put runners at the corners and that was followed by a groundout from Rodriguez, plating McInerney.
The Dons, who split with Bellflower last season but has five wins over the Bucs since 1999, will host Bellflower today before welcoming John Glenn High on Monday in the front end of that home and home series. Suezaki is expected to start today. Four of those five wins against Bellflower have come at home. Cerritos will conclude the regular season against Norwalk, which entered this week tied for sixth place with Artesia. Entering today’s action, Cerritos is a full game ahead of Mayfair for fourth place. The Monsoons went to 4-5 in league play following a win against Glenn this past Wednesday. Glenn dropped to 2-5 and needs a lot of help to crack the top four in league.
“Bottom line is we need to win three games out of our last five,” Parsonage said. “If we win three out of five, we’re in pretty much. That’s the numbers that I kind of figured out. If we win four, we’re in for sure. If we win three, we’re in the tiebreaker, probably against Mayfair and we own the tiebreaker on them.”
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