MONTEREY PARK, CA — The East Los Angeles College baseball team survived four errors with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to win 6-5 today against Rio Hondo College.
The Huskies improve to 12-11 overall and move into sole possession of second place in the SCC North at 5-4. Four teams, including ELAC and Rio Hondo (12-9, 4-5), are in the thick of the SCC title race and a playoff berth.
In a game that had four lead changes and three ties, ELAC opened the scoring in the bottom of the first after Husky freshman pitcher Tyler Oblea (Cathedral HS) retired the side in the top of the inning.
After two outs and rain beginning to flirt with play, freshman third baseman Matthew Sosa (Whittier HS) singled. He stole second followed by a walk to freshman designated hitter Thomas Acuna (Pomona HS).
Sophomore right fielder Kyle Francis (WA / Redmond HS) tripled (2 RBIs) and ELAC led 2-0. Freshman first baseman Damien Lomeli (St. Paul HS) singled (RBI) and increased the Husky to 3-0.
Rio Hondo added a run in the top of the second off a single, ELAC’s first error and a walk with the bases loaded.
In the top of the third, ELAC sophomore pitcher Richard Escobedo (Northview HS) replaced Oblea after a Rio Hondo single, an RBI double and an ELAC error. Oblea had one strike in 2.1 innings on the mound.
Escobedo threw a walk, struck out Rio Hondo left fielder Chris Sandoval and hit Rio Hondo catcher Danny Marquez with a pitch. Escobedo got out of the jam, but not before Rio Hondo added another single sandwiched between two unearned runs. ELAC was down 4-3.
The Huskies bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Acuna and freshman short stop Gabriel Figueroa (RBI) each singled. Sophomore catcher Ismael Martinez’s (Riverside Ramona HS) sacrifice fly (RBI) put the Huskies up 5-4.
Rio Hondo tied it at 5-5 in the top of the fifth off two singles and an ELAC error.
Winning pitcher sophomore Ozzie Cano (Charter Oak HS), who pitched the final two innings, got out of a jam in the top of the eighth with runners at the corners when he got Sandoval to ground out.
Cano retired the side in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the inning, ELAC sophomore centerfielder Morgan Lomax (Gardena Serra HS) was hit by a pitch. Sosa singled and Acuna was intentionally walked.
With the ELAC noise deafening, Francis flied out to right field and his sacrificed fly scored the winning run. He ended the game with a game-high three RBIs.
Cano moved to 1-1 for the season. Escobedo threw five strikes in 3.1 innings. Freshman pitcher Bernie Fernandez (Cathedral HS) pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.
With first place at stake for ELAC, the Huskies continue their second game of the Rio Hondo series in Whittier on Thursday at 2 p.m. ELAC hosts Rio Hondo on Saturday at noon.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia