Baseball Week Roundup: Huskies End Winless Start, Go 3-0
by Cerwin D Haynes and Stephen Morales
Having come up short in their first six games of the season, East Los Angeles College baseball had to wait a week and a half into the start of their season to earn a victory. It would even be understandable if such a slow start would test the patience of rookie interim head coach Alec Adame just a bit. But he and his team kept at it, and found themselves not only breaking their season-starting slide, but turning it into a win-streak to boot. The Huskies played two road games with a home game in between last week. Here's how they were able to add those three games into the win column:
Feb 8: Huskies 12, Raiders 7
ELAC fell behind early 3-0 in the first inning thanks to a triple, double and single in that order driving in runs. But the Huskies would steady themselves and eventually answer back in the top of the fourth: a walk and a HBP put runners on first and second with one out. 1B Juan Guardado knocked an RBI single, and some heads-up baserunning saw both he and Michael Easter advance to second and third on the throw to home. They were rewarded for their aggression when Ruben Hernandez - the next Husky batter - brought them both home with a 2RBI single which tied the game at 3.
Ahead to the top of the sixth with the score 4-4, the middle of the Huskies' lineup struck again: Easter led off the inning with a single, and Guardado followed with an RBI double, which was then followed by an RBI single by Hernandez. Two runs in, and ELAC took a 6-4 lead. The Pack also added two runs in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings - the home Raiders responded with two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth, but it was not enough to deny East LA their first win of the season.
Leadoff hitter and CF Jason Vela hit 4-6 with 3RBI and four runs scored. 1B Guardado went 2-4 with 2RBI and two runs scored. DH Hernandez and 2B Richard Ponce each wrapped two hits in five at-bats; Hernandez drove in three while Ponce drove in one with two runs scored. Starting pitcher Isaias Miramontes got the win, yielding seven hits, four runs (three earned), and two walks in five innings with a strikeout.
Feb 10: Huskies 14, Raiders 2
Coach Adame's squad continued the high scoring on the back end of the home-and-home with Moorpark, earning their first home win in dominant fashion. The Huskies put up crooked numbers in the home halves of the second, fifth,sixth and seventh innings:
- Leading 1-0 in the bottom of the second, the Pack took advantage of Raiders' starter Jaxon Jordan and his control issues. With the bases loaded thanks to two HBP's with a single in between, 2B Richard Ponce took to the plate and earned an RBI the hard way - he got plunked. After a Jason Vela pop-out to second, LF Jacob Lopez stepped to the plate... and he got plunked, trading momentary pain for an RBI. SS Antonio Gomez -next batter - would pop-out to third, but ELAC would add one more run in the inning via an RBI walk for RF Steven Villagran. Three runs on the benefit of only one hit saw ELAC take a 4-0 lead.
- Up 5-1 now in the bottom of the fifth: Ruben Hernandez reached on an error by 3B Andrew MacFarlane. DH Luis Rojas, taking over for starting DH Alex Mendez, drew a walk, and Ponce advanced the runners on a groundout to third. Vela was up next, now facing Moorpark's second reliever Andrew Tarazon. Vela hit a sharp grounder to third which ate up MacFarlane for his second error of the inning; Vela reached safely while Hernandez scored and Rojas scooted to third. Lopez would again take to the plate and drove a RBI double to deep left.
- Bottom 7 - Huskies with the commanding 9-1 lead, but the Pack was still hungry for runs. With two out and the bases loaded, Juan Guardado took to the plate against pitcher Liam Flynn who - like his starter Jordan - was struggling with his command. Flynn plunked Guardado in his flank, and ELAC again traded a wince of pain for an RBI. Hernandez once again took to the plate, but before he could size up Flynn, a passed ball allowed the runners to advance a base, scoring Villagran from third. Flynn, perhaps feeling the pressure of getting a pitch successfully over the plate, offered one that caught the plate, but also caught the full barrel of Hernandez's bat: he hit a high fly ball that cleared the fence in left, and the Huskies' third baseman had his first homerun of the season, driving in three more runs and making this game academic for the home Green. Five runs on one... yes, one hit, Huskies ended the inning up 14-1.
Starting pitcher Julian Tellez got the win, going six strong giving up only one run on three hits and a walk with six K's. Hernandez finished his day going 3-4 at the plate with four runs scored and 3RBI thanks to his homerun. Villagran and Richard Ponce also had 3RBI each on the day.
Feb 12: Huskies 14, Vaqueros 5
Down 3-2 in the top of the fifth in Santa Barbara, East LA has the bases loaded but with two outs.
- Vela drew an RBI walk, Lopez follwed by reaching safely on a dropped fly ball by RF Caiden Matheny which scored two runs.
- Vela - now at third thanks to the aforementioned error - scored on a wild pitch by reliever Matthew Hardford with Antonio Gomez at the plate. Hardford would then plunk Gomez, and then surrendered a walk to the next ELAC batter in Villagran, loading the bases again.
- Guardado follwed at the plate, and hit a dribbler to SS Gabriel Baldavino who couldn't make the throw to first in time - Lopez crosses the plate from third. Bases are still loaded, with Gomez at third.
- Hernandez would go down swinging to end the inning, but not before a wild pitch during his at bat allowed Gomez to race home.
Six runs scored on three hits and an error gave the visiting Pack an 8-3 lead that they ultimate would not relinquish. Vela, Lopez, Easter and Jullian Tellez each went 2-4 with two runs scored apiece. Vela had a game-high 3RBI.
East LA hops down to Santa Ana to take on the Dons on Tuesday the 15th. Then at the end of the week, the pack will gas up the vans and head down to the San Diego area to face Southwestern (Friday 2/18) and Grossmont (Saturday 2/19).