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SUBURBAN LEAGUE BASEBALL: Chiquito handcuffs Cerritos as late season struggles continue for the Dons

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

John Glenn High senior pitcher Humberto Chiquito has been impressive all season long that he already has one vote for a possible Suburban League Pitcher of the Year award.  At least that’s how Cerritos High head coach Scott Parsonage feels.

Chiquito gave up one hit, allowed four other runners to reach base, faced one over the minimum and struck out 14 as the visiting Eagles blanked the Dons this past Wednesday. The win kept Glenn (17-7 overall, 7-2) in second place in the league and two games behind La Mirada High with three games remaining in the regular season.

“I felt really good,” Chiquito said. “My defense was working [and] I had both pitches, my fastball and curveball, on and I found the zone. That’s what it was.”

“That guy is the best guy in the league by far,” Parsonage said. “Humberto Chiquito is way better than [La Mirada’s Jared] Jones. He’s a true pitcher; Jones is a thrower and hasn’t learned to pitch yet. He can throw the ball hard but he’s not a pitcher yet. [Chiquito] knows how to pitch and it proves by being a senior and learning all those years.”

Chiquito struck out all three batters in the bottom of the first and third innings and had a no-hitter going until the fifth. With one out, Cerritos sophomore shortstop Evan Vazquez singled to center but two pitches later, a double play ended the inning and Chiquito retired the next six batters.

Chiquito threw 71 pitches and did not throw more than six pitches to any batter. In fact, he threw six pitches to one batter before the last inning and no Cerritos runner reached second base.

“I don’t let that get to me,” Chiquito said. “I just pound the zone and every inning is a new inning.”

“If you’re not getting guys on base, you’re not going to win a ballgame,” Parsonage said. “You have swings that are way too big. Look at their leadoff guy; he can hit the ball out of the yard, but he shortens up and he sprays the ball all over the field because he’s a competitor and he wants his team to win. He’s given up his selfishness of hitting a double or a home run to get on base so the other guys on his team can move him around. Right now, we’re young and we’re not doing that.”

Chiquito, who had a no-hitter at Oxford Academy to begin the regular season on Feb. 24, has started eight games, going the distance five times and improving to 6-2. In league competition, he is 4-1.

Meanwhile, the Eagles got all the runs they needed in the top of the third when two were on with one out before an infield single from junior second baseman Joseph Figueroa allowed senior designated hitter Sergio Burgos to score. After the second out, a base hit to left from junior center fielder Damone Hale plated junior shortstop Joseph Angulo.

Glenn, which collected 11 hits, would score again in the fourth and twice more in the fifth and seventh. Angulo went three for four and scored twice while Figueroa and Hale each had a pair of hits. Both teams will meet again today at Rio Hondo College with Angulo slated to pitch against Vazquez. The Eagles will then wrap up the regular season at Bellflower High on Tuesday and home against Buccaneers on Thursday.

“Finishing up strong, we definitely want to get seeded in CIF,” Chiquito said. “We felt good as a team. Last week was a tough one but we came back [today] and we’ll be ready to go on Friday as well.”

Meanwhile, Cerritos (15-8, 4-5) will certainly be in a winner-take-all situation when it faces Norwalk High next week as both teams will vie for the final automatic playoff spot. The Lancers enter today’s game at La Mirada ties with Cerritos for fourth place. The Dons will be home on Tuesday and travel to Norwalk on Thursday.

“Hopefully we’ll come back tomorrow and make some adjustments hitting-wise and our swings and put the ball in play a little more,” Parsonage said.