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SUBURBAN LEAGUE BASEBALL: John Glenn sees league title chances dim after another close loss to La Mirada

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter


LA MIRADA-John Glenn High’s baseball team was bit with a case of déjà vu when it visited Suburban League nemesis La Mirada High with first place on the line. When the two teams had met just two days prior, Glenn grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, only to see the Matadores answer back with three in the top of the fifth.

Last Friday was the same except that Glenn added one more run in the top of the sixth but couldn’t get the tying or go-ahead runs in a 3-2 loss. The Eagles, who had entered the week tied with the Matadores for first place in the league, fell to 16-7 overall and 6-2 in league action.

“In that last game, they went double, double, home run,” said Glenn head coach Jack Brooks. “This game, we gave it away. We throw the ball away on a [pickoff attempt] and we were in control of the game right there. That’s baseball and we have to learn from that and we have to grow. The way we played today…we outplayed them and we didn’t come away with the victory and that’s really tough to swallow.”

Glenn was looking to beat La Mirada for the first time since 2015 and fourth time since at least 1998. It was also looking to win on La Mirada’s field for the first time since 2014, which was a 1-0 win. That is the only win at La Mirada since at least 1999.

Glenn junior pitcher Joseph Angulo was on fire through the first four innings, allowing just a first inning double to Jared Jones, a two-out first inning walk to Brandon Rho and a third baserunner the next inning who reached on an error. Angulo retired seven straight at one point and struck out four through the first four innings.

“He was light’s out,” Brooks said. “That was Joe; he competes. Joseph is going to Cal Poly [San Luis Obispo]; he’s already committed there, and he’s going there as a position player. He goes out there and competes and finds a way to get outs.”

Meanwhile, the offense gave him a little support in the top of the fourth when Emilio Morales walked senior shortstop Humberto Chiquito, advanced on a single from junior center fielder Damone Hale and slid under the tag from La Mirada catcher Darius Perry at home on a single from junior catcher Alexis Martinez.

However, that was lost in the next frame when Angulo yielded a base hit to Tyer Cappon, who moved to third when a pickoff attempt went errant. Three pitches later, Cappon tied the game when Dominic Martinez singled to left. Back to back singles from Eugene Jeon and Jones pit the Matadores up 2-1, which ended Angulo’s day on the mound.

In came senior Jose Llamas and after an intentional walk to Perry, which loaded the bases, Rho’s sacrifice fly gave the hosts that much needed insurance run. Llamas retired four of the last five batters he faced.

Glenn cut into that lead in the sixth when junior second baseman Joseph Figueroa doubled just inside third base and down the left field line. Two outs later, he came home on a two-bagger from Hale. After Martinez was walked, the Eagles were looking to tie the contest, but a fly-out ended that threat and they went three up, three down in the seventh.

Throughout the game, Brooks and his players were cheering and jumping up and down probably more than in any other game this season. The atmosphere in the dugout as well as in the stands was one that you would see in a California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section championship game.

“We’re playing for the Suburban League title,” Brooks said. “Bottom line is we needed this game to win the league title and I wanted it that bad for these kids. I’ve won a Suburban League title, I’ve won a CIF title as a player, I’ve played at La Mirada. I want these kids to experience that. I was emotional, yes. I really wanted this game more for them than for any personal satisfaction.”

La Mirada now has the inside track on a third straight league title, fifth in the last six seasons and 16thsince 2000. The game marked the final time that the teams would face each other as Suburban League rivals, which would explain the added excitement from Brooks and his players. Glenn moves into the new 605 League next season.

“La Mirada, as much as I want to beat them, is a special place,” Brooks said. “It’s a great program, they get great players and it’s unfortunate that we won’t be have to have these battles anymore.”

The Eagles, who got only five hits in the game, visited Cerritos High this past Wednesday and behind the arm of Chiquito, came away with a 7-0 victory. Chiquito yielded only one hit and struck out 11. Glenn will host the Dons today to cap off the critical home and home series for both teams, then will wrap up the regular season with a visit to Bellflower High on Tuesday and a home meeting with the Buccaneers on Thursday. Entering this past Monday, Glenn, ranked fourth in Division 4, was a game ahead of Bellflower (6-4) and two games in front of Cerritos and Norwalk High (4-4). Three of those four teams will advance to the playoffs.

“I wouldn’t want to coach anywhere else or be around any…these kids are [really] special,” Brooks said. “Bottom is, the wins and losses…who [cares]. The way these kids competed in this kind of atmosphere is what makes them better men and better husbands and better people in the future. It’s special stuff.”