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605 LEAGUE BASEBALL – Cerritos nearly perfect in rout of John Glenn, moves one step closer to bigger prize

April 6, 2023

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

Cerritos High nearly played a perfect game against John Glenn High this past Tuesday afternoon as the Dons began the second half of their league slate. Offensively, there was no stopping the Dons, who collected season highs in hits and runs as they blasted the Eagles 22-0.

Pitching-wise, Cerritos was one out away from a combined perfect game, only to be broken up by senior third baseman Joseph Chavez, who took a 1-0 pitch from senior Ryan Chamberlain and sent it into left field. Two pitches later a groundout from junior Benjamin Iniguez ended the game.

But the contest wasn’t just about the final score as both teams have something to look forward to for different reasons. The Dons, who had lost two straight games, improved to 11-7 overall, 5-0 in 605 League action and are on target to win their fourth straight league title. It was also their third straight league shutout.

“Today was a big win, especially after we lost yesterday to Summit, and then coming back today to put it all together and get one more victory in league and one more win closer to that title,” said Cerritos first-year head coach Chris Masella. “Hopefully we can bounce back on Thursday at their yard and continue to play well.”

Playing well was not a problem for Cerritos, which scored nine runs in the bottom of the third inning to bust the game wide open, leading 12-0 at the time. The hosts scored at least one run in each of the six innings they batted, and when the dust had settled, every starter had at least one of the 23 hits the team collected, eight had at least two hits, every starter crossed home plate at least a run and eight drove in at least one run.

The top offensive stars were sophomore shortstop Dalton Chi (four for six, three runs, two runs batted in), senior third baseman Paul Kim (four for five, five runs, four RBI), junior first baseman Elijah Pannell (three for five, five RBI, one run) and senior left fielder Raymond Sierra (three for five, three runs scored, two RBI, a double and a triple). Senior designated hitter Wyland Aulick and junior center fielder Johann Gibbs also drove in three runs each and the Dons batted around in the third and fourth innings.

“We’re getting production up and down [the lineup], which is key,” said Masella. “We can do a lot of things when that happens. We can be able to drive runs in, get on base; we’re stealing bases. Everybody feels a part of the team; it’s a team win. That’s what it comes down to. When everybody is producing, it’s a team win.”

When the Dons were on defense, it was all about junior pitchers Carter Chi and Jake Lake and Chamberlain. Carter Chi pitched the first three innings, throwing 30 pitches and striking out six. Lake threw 27 pitches over the next three frames and struck out four while Chamberlain needed a dozen pitches to get three groundouts. The only three-ball count to a Glenn batter came in the seventh when freshman starting pitcher Evan Perez grounded out on a 3-1 count. There were seven groundouts, three pop-ups and a lineout on top of the 10 combined strikeouts.

Because Cerritos, which is shorthanded in the pitching department, has four games this week, Masella didn’t want to use Carter Chi a lot, hoping to save him later in the week since he still has a lot of pitches and innings to work with. He added that after the third inning, in which it was 12-0, it was clear that the game was secure and he could use other pitchers to help the team out.

In the other dugout, the Eagles have already eclipsed their win total from the last three seasons combined. In 2022, Glenn was 1-15-1 overall with the lone win coming at Pioneer High in a 10-8 affair and scored 43 runs. Glenn was shutout seven times and lost to Cerritos 6-2 at home before falling 11-0 at Cerritos two days later in the last game of the season.
This season, the Eagles won their season opener against Bell Gardens High 13-5, shutout Firebaugh High 5-0 in the fifth game and blasted Firebaugh again 14-3 to improve to 3-5 at the time. The team also picked up a forfeit victory against Hawthorne Math and Science Academy.

“It’s all about the demeanor,” said Glenn head coach Gabriel Guzman. “Last year, our boys put their heads down too soon. There was a slight turnaround but it wasn’t enough to come through as opposed to this year. We’re just trying to keep the kids motivated regardless of what the score is. I don’t see a score; I see them going out there to get hits and get outs.”

After hosting the Dons on Apr. 6 to wrap up the home and home series, Glenn will be off until Apr. 14 when it travels to Lynwood High in a non-league contest. Glenn (4-7, 0-3) is hoping to pick up some wins against fellow CIF-Southern Section Division 7 counterparts Artesia High and Pioneer High in the final two weeks of the season and get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2019. Cerritos will face St. Paul High on Saturday and Paramount High on Wednesday in the St. Paul Tournament.

“They have a great program,” said Guzman of Cerritos. “You can’t take anything away from them. All the players come to play. Call it what it is, whether it’s rhythm, brotherhood, gelling…it’s everything. I have to tip my hats to them. They’re a great organization; they’re a great ballclub.”