PALM DESERT, CA — The East Los Angeles College baseball team took care of business for the third year in a row in its season opening game with a win.
For the second straight year, the Huskies fell behind 3-0 at College of the Desert then ELAC rallied for the victory.
With one down in the top of the first inning, ELAC freshman center fielder Troy Maki, who had a batting average of .439 at Mark Keppel High School last year, singled to right field. It was ELAC’s first hit of the year. The Huskies’ opportunity to score was squashed after two quick outs. Maki was the first of 11 Huskies left-on-base.
Desert struck for three runs in the bottom half of the inning off of three hits. ELAC sophomore pitcher Zechariah (Zech) Jarrard (Temple City HS) loaded the bases after he hit two straight batsmen. He then got a ground out, one of the key plays of the game for ELAC, and got out of trouble.
The Huskies scored two runs off of three hits in the third inning to get back into the game.
Sophomore first baseman Joaquin Castillo (Warren HS) led off with a double. After two outs, Maki reached first on an error by the Desert short stop. Two Husky hits led to two unearned runs. Sophomore short stop Matthew Sosa (Whittier HS) singled to shortstop and Jarrard singled to left field.
ELAC tied it 3-3 in the sixth inning. Sophomore third baseman Oscar Osorio (Charter Oak HS) hammered a leadoff double to right field. Sophomore right fielder Elias Maldonado (Northview HS) singled and Osorio scored.
ELAC had a three-run eruption in a wild seventh inning from one hit—a Sosa smash to center field—three stolen bases, three walks and a wild pitch. The Huskies led 6-3.
The Huskies got into trouble in the bottom half of the inning after two outs, which was followed by a Desert single, two walks, a stolen base and an ELAC wild pitch that loaded the bases. ELAC had two pitching changes during this stretch, the latter, freshman Andres Alonso (Cathedral HS).
Desert first baseman Jonathan Mejia followed hit a bases-loaded single. ELAC led 6-4. Alonso then got out of the jam and quieted the crowd with a bases-loaded strikeout to Brian McKenna who he struck out looking.
The Huskies added two insurance runs in the ninth inning. Alonso followed with a three-and-out bottom of the ninth for the ELAC win.
ELAC opened its season with 10 hits and played error-free ball. Sosa and Maldonado led the Husky bats. Sosa pounded two hits and had two RBIs. Maldonado singled and finished with two RBIs. Sosa had a batting average of .400. Other ELAC leaders were Maldonado and Osorio who each hit .333.
The other eight ELAC hits were from Osorio and Castillo who each doubled, sophomore left fielder Steven Nuno (Warren HS) who also doubled, and singles from Jarrard, Maki, freshman catcher Gabriel Jimenez (Roosevelt HS) and freshman second baseman Grant Victor (St. Francis HS). Other ELAC RBIs came from Jarrard, Castillo and Jimenez who each had one.
Jarrard (1-0) got the win and threw one strikeout in 6.2 innings of solid work. Alonso pitched for 2-1 innings, gave up one hit and threw two strikeouts.
ELAC continues play this weekend with two more games at in the beginning with a game against Mt. San Jacinto College tomorrow at 1 p.m. and a rematch with Desert on Sunday at noon.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index or on Facebook at ELAC Huskies Athletics (@elachuskiesathletics).
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia