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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW – Trio of Artesia baseball pitchers combine to no-hit John Glenn, keep playoff chances alive

April 17, 2024

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on X

Artesia High’s baseball team had its back against the wall when it hosted improved John Glenn High this past Tuesday. The Pioneers were two games behind the Eagles for third place in the 605 League and another loss would put them on the brink of elimination a season after advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 quarterfinals.

But freshman pitcher Jorge Vidal, making his second start of the season, paved the way for sophomore Josue Lugo and junior Angel Estrada as they combined to throw a no-hitter in a 4-0 victory. Vidal worked the first four innings, then Lugo threw 11 pitches in the top of the fifth inning before Estrada tossed 19 pitches over the final two frames. The trio combined for four strikeouts, walk four and face five over the minimum.

“It was huge just coming back with the win,” said Artesia head coach Jose Serrano. “I know we’ve been struggling, and I went with the freshman Jorge Vidal, who did an amazing job coming in; just pounding the strike zone and just keeping us in the game. Lately, our pitching performance has been bad, and I think this game was what really changed the tone.”

Serrano also cited clutch hitting as another key to the victory as all four runs were scored with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Junior designated player Ahkil Sampson was safe on an error and would advance to second on a sacrifice form junior left fielder Daniel Serrano. Two batters later and back to the top of the lineup, freshman shortstop Michael Nava’s single to the left field gap brought in Sampson. Glenn junior pitcher Brandon Rivera, who went the distance, then intentionally walked junior catcher Daniel Carbajal. The plan to set up a force play backfired as on the first pitch he saw, junior right fielder Alex Escobar singled to left to make it 2-0. Then two pitches later, Lugo was safe on Glenn’s second error as Carbajal and senior pinch runner Daniel Guardado crossed home plate to complete the scoring.

Early on, Vidal was dodging one Glenn scoring chance after another as sophomore right fielder Bert Rodriguez was left at third base in the top of the first inning and senior third baseman Benny Iniguez, who was walked with one out in the second and went to second on a groundout, wouldn’t advance as Vidal struck out sophomore third baseman Jonah Mason to end the inning.

Iniguez would be left at second base with two outs in the third and after Vidal walked Iniguez and sophomore center fielder Logan Bruce in the fourth, he got Mason to ground out. That would be the first of 10 straight retired by the pitching staff.

“I think him just staying focused and relaxed…it was huge watching him not panic and not overthrowing,” said Jose Serrano of Vidal. “I know he went just four innings, but it was an amazing four innings to see him pitch.”

Rivera was just as solid through the first four innings as well, retiring the first eight batters he faced before junior first baseman Jose Garcia doubled to the right field gap. Rivera then hit Nava before inducing Carbajal into a grounder. Rivera also gave up a double to junior second baseman Victor Sanchez with two outs in the fourth and a lead-off single to freshman Ramon Chavez in the sixth.

“Clutch hitting; I think that’s what it was,” said Jose Serrano of the bottom of the fifth. “In baseball, the two-out rally kills you and I think that’s what changed the tone.”

Artesia (8-10 overall, 3-4 in league) will visit Glenn on Friday, needing a win to force a tie for third place with two league games remaining. It will also host Orange High on Saturday and make up a home game with Kennedy High on Monday before ending the regular season with a home and home series against last place Whitney High, which has one victory on the season and has lost all seven league games. The first game will be on Tuesday at Artesia with the second game two days later at Whitney. Glenn, ranked sixth in the CIF-SS Division 8 poll, dropped to 12-7, 4-3 and will go to second place Oxford Academy on Tuesday before hosting the Patriots on Thursday. If Artesia and Glenn finished tied for third place, a tiebreaker game will be played on Apr. 26.

“If we can take care of Glenn and just one game at a time…they might go with their lefty,” said Jose Serrano. “I’ve heard good things about him. It’s just playing solid defense. We’ll be ready for them. It will be a great game.”

In other baseball action, Cerritos High defeated Oxford Academy 7-2 in a battle of the last remaining unbeaten 605 League teams. The Dons (17-5, 7-0) will visit the Patriots on Friday and Pioneer High on Tuesday in the front end of a home and home series with the Titans. The rematch will be on Thursday at Cerritos.

La Mirada High, the sixth-ranked team in Division 1, blanked Maranatha High 7-0 this past Saturday to improve to 17-5 overall. The win was a rematch from nine days prior when the Matadores fell to the Minutemen 3-2 in a Boras Baseball Classic contest. La Mirada hosted West Torrance High on Apr. 18 and is scheduled to go to Corona High on Saturday before the big end of the season series with Gahr High, which currently leads the Gateway League with an 8-0 mark. Tuesday’s game will be at Gahr while the second of the three-game series is Thursday. The Matadores have lost once in nine league contests.

Norwalk High, enduring its worst season since 2019 when the Lancers went 4-19 overall and winless in the old Suburban League, lost to St. Paul High 8-5 last Saturday and after its 13-1 defeat to Gahr this past Tuesday, dropped its record to 3-14, 0-9. After its home game on Friday against the Gladiators, Norwalk will end the season entertaining Warren High Tuesday before facing the Bears on the road on Thursday.

Valley Christian High, the eighth-ranked team in Division 6, has lost three in a row after a 2-0 setback to Whittier Christian High this past Tuesday. The Defenders (9-10, 5-5 in the Olympic League) will travel to Whittier Christian on Friday with the winner owning the season tiebreaker. The Defenders will then host Village Christian High on Saturday in the final league game of the season. The winner of that game will also own the season tiebreaker. Entering Friday’s action, Village Christian was sitting in second place at 5-4, then the Defenders with Whittier Christian at 4-5.


Cerritos, ranked 12th in Division 3, had no problems with Whitney in an 8-1 victory this past Tuesday, improving to 14-1, 8-0. The win clinched at least a share of the 605 League title as the Dons go to Oxford Academy on Friday, host Pioneer on Tuesday and visit St. Joseph High on Thursday in a non-league affair.

Gahr, which had not played since smashing Warren 18-2 on Apr. 9, got back into action with a 7-3 win over Mayfair High this past Tuesday, improving to 12-9, 4-1 in the Gateway League. The Gladiators went to La Mirada on Apr. 18 with first place on the line and will wrap up the regular season against Downey High on Tuesday and a trip to Warren on Thursday.

Glenn has lost 12 straight games after an 8-3 setback to Pioneer this past Tuesday. The Eagles (2-14, 0-8) will host Artesia on Friday, Leuzinger High on Saturday, and Oxford Academy on Tuesday.

After not playing since Mar. 28, La Mirada picked up where it left off and shutout Downey 10-0 last Thursday, then defeated Warren 8-2 to move its mark to 17-4-2, 6-0. After their first place battle with Gahr, the Matadores, who are ranked sixth in Division 1, will go to Mayfair on Tuesday.

Norwalk, the seventh-ranked team in Division 4, posted its sixth shutout of the season following a 16-0 win at Lynwood High last Thursday, then smashed Firebaugh High 18-1 this past Tuesday to improve to 16-6, 6-1 in the Mid-Cities League. The league title was on the line on Apr. 18 when the Lancers hosted Paramount High. They will be at Bellflower High and Dominguez High on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Valley Christian, the ninth-ranked team in Division 5, was all over Maranatha High in a 15-0 contest last Thursday, improving to 12-4, 4-1 in the Olympic League. The Defenders visited Village Christian on Apr. 18 and will entertain St. Joseph High on Friday, Heritage Christian High on Monday and Whittier Christian on Wednesday with the league title on the line while Whitney traveled to Pioneer on Apr. 18 and will welcome Long Beach Cabrillo High on Monday before facing Artesia the next day.