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NEWPORT ELKS BASEBALL TOURNAMENT: Vasquez, Cerritos continue to stay hot, down Schurr to end first tournament

 

 

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

 

Who knows where the 2018 Cerritos High baseball team would be standing after the first few weeks of the regular season had it not been for a 10-0 loss to Segerstrom High in pool play action of the Newport Elks Tournament. But the Dons rebounded nicely and ended competition in the Costa Mesa Division of the prestigious event by slamming Schurr High 9-2 last Friday afternoon to finish with one loss in five games played in the tournament.

Including a doubleheader sweep over Costa Mesa High to begin the season, the Dons are 6-1 and have outscored their opponents 46-7 in the six victories.

“Last year we were in the lower level of the tournament and we went 5-0,” said Cerritos head coach Scott Parsonage. “We tried to bump it up and play some better teams. We showed up against Segerstrom, but we didn’t show up to play. Hopefully we learned from that.”

Sophomore Evan Vasquez worked a perfect top of the first inning and the Dons were ready to give him some support in the bottom half of the frame. Sophomore center fielder Raul Garcia was walked by Aaron Alvarado and Cerritos loaded the bases on consecutive singles from junior left fielder Matthew Aguinaga and Vasquez. But a ground ball for a double play and a groundout ended the early threat. In the next inning, Schurr’s Andrew Lujan smacked a home run over the right center fence for a 1-0 lead. The Spartans added to their lead in the third when Vasquez walked Brandon Alcantar with one out, went to third on a bunt from Justin Cervantes and an error and came home on a balk.

“That’s baseball for you,” Parsonage said of the home run. “You roll the dice and try to stay out of the middle there, but it is what it is. He didn’t elevate that ball enough and grounded into a double play. That’s a pitcher’s dream right there.”

But Vasquez settled down and retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced, including a prefect fifth and sixth innings. Meanwhile, the bats came alive for the Dons over the next four innings. Martinez walked Garcia again to begin the third inning and with two outs, sophomore second baseman Alex Manibusan’s single made it 2-1.

In the next inning, freshman third baseman Nick Hill led off with a double, went to third when sophomore catcher Jonathan O’Neill put down a bunt up the third base line and sophomore first baseman Dee Vizcarra was walked to load the bases. One out later, Garcia singled and Aguinaga doubled to make it a 4-2 contest.

O’Neill’s one-out base hit in the fifth plated junior shortstop Matthew Pinal to make it 5-2 before the hosts put the game away with four more in the sixth inning. Sophomore right fielder Xavier Medina and Garcia each singled before Aguinaga bunted up the first base line and the baseball proceeded to go past first base and into right field for a rare bunt double. Two batters later, Manibusan’s base hit to center brought in Aguinaga and an error would allow Manibusan to score the game’s last run.

“I haven’t seen a bunt like that without a shift on for a double in my life,” Parsonage said. “That was pretty crazy. We don’t bunt too much in the fall because it’s fall. We get them to swing. But obviously we know when it comes to the Suburban League, they are nail-biting games sometimes and it comes down to getting a bunt down, making a pitch, making a play on defense and executing on offense. Failing one time could be the outcome of you not winning that game.”

Everyone in the lineup contributed for Cerritos with Aguinaga collecting three hits while Garcia, Manibusan and O’Neill all had a pair of hits. Garcia also scored three times and Aguinaga drove in three.

“That was huge,” Parsonage said. “That’s spread out even in the lineup and it’s hard to defend if you can do that. Hopefully at times we can add some of those hits in the same inning to get some runs and not spread them out so much. Our lineup is consistently changing; we just still haven’t found anything set in stone.”

Vasquez, who picked up his third win of the season, scattered three hits and struck out five while walking two. Senior Kaleb Ferrer came in the seventh to retire the side on seven pitches. In his three starts, Vasquez has allowed 12 hits and three runs.

“The best pitchers give up home runs sometimes,” Parsonage said. “The thing you want to do is give up the solo shot and not the three-run shot after you walk a guy or hit a guy. Today he didn’t have his changeup working. He was kind of burying it a little bit and that was pretty much the difference why he wasn’t as dominant or as effective as he usually is.”

Cerritos will travel to Long Beach Poly High on Saturday for a doubleheader before opening its final season in the Suburban league at La Mirada High on Wednesday.