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605 LEAGUE BASEBALL : Cerritos turns pitcher’s duel into rout with big sixth inning against John Glenn

John Glenn High senior pitcher Joseph Angulo releases one of his 90 pitches he threw against Cerritos High this past Tuesday. After allowing a run in each of the first two innings, Angulo retired seven straight batters. But he would allow five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as Cerritos defeated the Eagles 8-1, moving to 3-0 in the 605 League while Glenn dropped to 0-3. Photo by Armando Vargas, contributing photographer.


By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

The beginning of the much-anticipated home and home series between Cerritos High and John Glenn High went as expected, considering that these two baseball squads were predicted to win the 605 League. Cerritos senior pitcher Matthew Pinal and Glenn senior hurler Joseph Angulo were locked in a pitcher’s duel until the host Dons blew the game wide open in the bottom of the sixth inning.

This was a contest that Glenn head coach Jack Brooks agreed was ‘a great game for five innings’. Cerritos head coach Brooks Walling echoed similar sentiments, but in the end, the hosts distanced themselves from the struggling Eagles, claiming an 8-1 victory this past Tuesday that left the Dons, winners of five straight games, at 12-6 overall, but more importantly undefeated in three league games. Pinal, who went the distance for the first time this season, threw 83 pitches, yielded four hits and struck out four. He threw four or fewer pitches to 18 of the 25 batters he faced.

“I went with my best guy, our other ace, and after Glenn drops two to Oxford [Academy], I wanted to drive a nail in their coffin today,” Walling said. “We’re 3-0 and pretty much in the driver’s seat and looking good with Oxford.

“When you step on the field with Jack, it’s going to be a grind,” he continued. “And they grinded for five innings. It kind of fell apart in the sixth.”

Brooks, on the other hand, was hoping his team was 2-0 entering the game, but the Eagles were swept by Oxford Academy by a combined score of 15-3, leaving them now at 7-9. Glenn is going through its second straight season without a home as work is still being done on a new baseball field.

“These kids have done a great job,” Brooks said. “It’s been really tough this year without…and it shows. It’s hard to play good baseball when you can’t practice and I’m not going to get mad at these kids. They’re doing the best they can with what they have.”

Cerritos broke through in the bottom of the first inning when Angulo walked senior right fielder Matthew Aguinaga who would come home with two outs on a ground out from junior second baseman Alex Manibusan. In the next inning, senior designated hitter Bernie DeLeon doubled to the right field gap and would come home on a wild pitch.

“It’s pressure baseball; that’s old school style,” Walling said. “Get a guy on third base with less than two [outs]. We were trying to hit the ball hard up the middle [and] put the ball in play and make them play defense.”

Those two runs would be enough because Pinal was on fire throughout the contest. He retired the first six batters and gave up two hits through the first five innings. The only blemishes were a leadoff single to sophomore first baseman Jacob Hernandez in the third inning and a leadoff single to senior shortstop Joseph Figueroa the next inning. Pinal would also hit senior catcher Alexis Martinez to begin the fifth inning and heading into the sixth inning, Pinal had faced one over the minimum.

“He was light’s out today,” Walling said. “He pounded the zone. I’m guessing Jack’s game plan was to come out swinging. They did and [Pinal] made great pitches and got the ‘W’.”

“It was fun,” Brooks said of the game. “Pinal is really good; he did a great job. He kind of kept his fastball down. In the first inning, we kind of gave them a run with a hit by pitch and a walk to start the game. But we got out of it and started to settle down.”

Angulo wasn’t bad either after the first two innings. After DeLeon’s double, Angulo retired the next seven before yielding a triple to sophomore third baseman Nick Hill. But Angulo, who has three wins in six starts with a pair of complete games, struggled in the bottom of the sixth inning. He would load the bases on a double to Manibusan, an intentional walk to Hill and by hitting pinch hitter Quincy Quinbrantar.

Angulo’s day would end after giving up a single to freshman left fielder Owen Gott and hitting junior pinch hitter Jacob De La Rosa. Glenn senior pitcher Christian Leon was then greeted by Aguinaga’s two-run double and Pinal’s two-run single.

“He had a wild first inning, real wild, and we manufactured [a run],” Walling said of Angulo. “He settled down and he’s a good pitcher. He’s their number one, I’m guessing. There’s a reason for that. He figured it out in [innings] three, four and five and we hammered him in the sixth.”

Glenn’s lone run came in the top of the fifth inning when Figueroa doubled to center with two outs, moved to third when senior Julian Marrujo reached on an error and came home on a wild pitch. Figueroa would collect a pair of hits and was the only Eagle to get past second base.

“Figgy’s a stud; he’s one of the best players in the area,” Brooks said. “He went two for three off Pinal. He smoked those balls and he made seven or eight [assists] at shortstop. He’s a great player.”

Cerritos had seven hits with Gott going two for three and five others with one hit. The two will meet again today with Figueroa expected to take the mound for the Eagles while junior Evan Vazquez goes for the Dons. Cerritos will then visit Pioneer High on Tuesday in the front end of a home and series while Glenn visits Artesia High. While Cerritos is in a great shot to not only advance to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, but win the league, Glenn has more of an uphill battle. A loss to Cerritos today would nearly put the Eagles in a position where third place is the best they could do, having already been swept by the two teams ahead of them. Cerritos will face Oxford Academy on the last week of the regular season while Glenn ends the season with Pioneer and Whitney High.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” Brooks said. “I have a very young team in terms of having a lot of players who haven’t had a lot of chances to play. I have three players in Figueroa, Martinez and Angulo who have played every day for three years. But that doesn’t make a team.”