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SUBURBAN LEAGUE BASEBALL: Cerritos outlasts John Glenn in 10 innings, scores lone run on error

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

There are still three weeks remaining in the regular season but when Cerritos High visited John Glenn High this past Wednesday, it was a playoff atmosphere from the first pitch to the final pitch. Cerritos freshman center fielder Raul Garcia scored on an error in the top of the 10th inning to give the Dons a 1-0 road victory that tightened up the Suburban League race.

Cerritos improved to 16-10 overall and 4-3 in league play while the Eagles, who have now lost six of their last 10 games, dropped to 13-9, 4-3. Both teams are half a game behind Bellflower High. It was also the fourth straight 1-0 decision for Cerritos, three of which have been victories as it has now won six of its last eight games.

“You need luck to get into the playoffs and win a playoff game and this was a playoff game,” said Cerritos assistant Brooks Walling.

The top of the 10th began with sophomore first baseman Bernie DeLeon getting hit by a pitch. On the very next pitch, Garcia met the same fate and two pitches later, sophomore left fielder Matthew Aguinaga was safe on a fielder’s choice. An error allowed Garcia to move to third and when Aguinaga thought he would be caught in a rundown between first and second, another error allowed Garcia to come home.

The game was a classic pitching duel between Cerritos freshman Dee Vizcarra and Glenn sophomore Joseph Angulo, both of whom combined for 14 strikeouts. Through the first four innings, Angulo had allowed just one hit, then got some stellar defensive plays in the next two innings to keep the game scoreless.

In the top of the fifth, freshman third baseman Evan Vasquez led off with a first-pitch single to left field. After moving to second on a sacrifice from freshman right fielder Alex Manibusan, DeLeon hit a fly ball that was tailing off but not far enough for senior left fielder Bobby Acosta to make a sensational diving catch. Garcia would then single to left but Acosta came up and threw out Vasquez at home to end the inning.

In the next inning, Aguinaga was hit by a pitch but on the next throw from Angulo, he induced senior shortstop Trevor McInerney to ground into a double play on a great snare by junior third baseman Raphael DeAvila.

“Angulo has been good,” Walling said. “He kept us off-balanced. Dee matched him pitch for pitch. Dee was the better guy today.”

Meanwhile, Vizcarra was going through the first five innings with relative ease, not allowing a hit until there were two outs in the fourth. That’s when Glenn junior second baseman Alex Alcaraz laced a single to right. But Manibusan came up throwing and sent a rocket of a throw to DeLeon who relayed it to senior catcher Brett Wells who tagged out sophomore right fielder Joseph Figueroa to end the inning.

“It was definitely a momentum changer,” Walling said. “Then the next inning, I had a guy get thrown out. So again, we knew that one run was going to win that game.”

Vizcarra would work eight solid innings, striking out eight and yielding just three hits while walking four. But as the game was getting into the later innings, both coaches were strategizing. Wells was put on base twice without a pitch thrown to him while the same happened to Angulo and senior first baseman Sergio Sandoval.

The Eagles would have the better chance of ending the game much sooner, loading the bases in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings on just three hit batters, two hits, two intentional walks, a regular walk and an error. But Vizcarra ended those innings with a pair of called third strikes and a groundout.

“I try to stay humble and try to take care of my team and pick them up when they weren’t getting the runs,” Vizcarra said. “I was feeling real confident, trusting my team and trusting my defense.”

Cerritos also has a few chances to push across a run before the 10th. With two outs in the eighth, Aguinaga singled and moved to second on an error. McInerney then put down an infield single and Wells was put on first without a throw. But Angulo would get sophomore designated hitter Matthew Pinal to ground out.

In the bottom of the eighth and with one out, sophomore catcher Alexis Martinez singled, moved to second on a groundout and to third when Sandoval was put on first and Vizcarra walked DeAvila on four pitches. Then Vizcarra struck out junior pinch hitter Jose Llamas looking. Glenn would strand 13 runners while the Dons would leave eight runners on the bases. Vasquez collected three hits in four at-bats while no one else on either side had multiple hits.

“With the two freshmen we have, Dee is one of the best guys around,” Walling said. “There’s no doubt. I think the big momentum changer was when we had a five-man infield and he struck [Jose Llamas] out.”

“[They told me] just do my normal thing; to stay focused and stay in the strike zone and trust what they call,” Vizcarra said.

The two teams will meet today at Cerritos with Vazquez going for the Dons against junior Humberto Chiquito, who pitched the final inning. The winner will have sole possession of third place while the loser drops into a fourth-place tie with Bellflower. Cerritos will begin a home and home series at Norwalk High on Wednesday while the Eagles are home to Bellflower.

“You’re going to see the same game,” Walling said of today’s game. “Once again, they made a crucial error and we didn’t. One run is going to win the game.”