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Corral Puts A Hold On Pacifica In First Round Victory



By Loren Kopff

Gahr High’s California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section Division II first round playoff game was all about two things: junior pitcher Chris Corral and the bottom of the third inning. Corral scattered five hits and struck out four and the Gladiators scored all of their runs in one inning during a 4-0 home win against Oxnard-based Pacifica last Friday.

Corral, who began the season as the team’s No. 2 pitcher but became the ace early in April, went the distance for the second time this season and tossed his first shutout. He also threw 69 pitches and didn’t walk a batter.

“Today my arm felt really good,” Corral said. “The second half of the season, I felt a lot better than the first half. I started getting a little bit more stamina so I could last longer.”

“The one thing Chris developed is ability to attack hitters and more than one way,” said Gahr head coach Gerardo Perez. “He’s a pretty complete pitcher meaning he can spot up; he can throw a variety of different pitches to different areas at different speeds.”

The only threat the Tritons had in the game came in the top of the first inning. With one out, Jason Gomez singled and moved to third on a two-out base hit from Sam Camacho. But Corral (9-2) bounced back to strike out Raul Sandoval. After that, none of the other five Pacifica batters that reached base made it to second.

Camacho, who had singled in the fourth and seventh innings respectively would be doubled up  to end those frames and Jacob Neri, who laced a single down the left field line in the third, was thrown out at second by senior left fielder Alberto Avila trying to stretch it into a double.

“In the first inning, I was a little passive,” Corral said. “I didn’t come out as aggressive as I used to. After that inning, after I got myself out of the jam, I became more aggressive and started jumping ahead in the counts and working them.”

Meanwhile, the Gladiators gave Corral some support in the third inning by batting around in the lineup. With one out, Frank Villasenor walked senior first baseman Rafael Alvarez and gave up a single to senior center fielder Nicholas Cepeda.

However, a bad throw allowed Alvarez to come home and send Cepeda to second. Junior second baseman Jesus Salazar singled in Cepeda and two batters later, a double from Avila made it 3-0. Avila would complete the scoring by coming home on a wild pitch.

After that inning, Gahr would only get a fourth inning single from junior designated hitter David Balboa and a fifth inning walk issued to freshman shortstop Michael Perez. Salazar collected two of five hits for the Gladiators.

“We always talk about the same old adage; throw strikes, play defense and put the ball in play,” Gerardo Perez said. “Today we did two of the three. Corral obviously threw strikes. I thought our defense was pretty good in the infield. Offensively, I think we need to do a better job, have a little better approach and a little better on base percentage so we can have a little bit more versatility to our offensive game.”

The Gladiators, who won the San Gabriel Valley League, ended 2015 at 21-12.