#6 Daniel Vierra swings and hits a ball through the right-center gap in the infield for the game winning hit.
#6 Daniel Vierra swings and hits a ball through the right-center gap in the infield for the game winning hit.

Huskies Nip Tartars on Walk-Off RBI Single

by Cerwin D Haynes

(photos by Juan Sanchez and La Anh San Nham)


East Los Angeles College baseball has been developing a knack for late-inning rallies and comebacks at home recently. Four out of the last five home victories were the result of ELAC scoring the go-ahead or winning run in the eight inning or later. Against today's opponent in Compton College, the Huskies initially looked as if they would not need to rely on such last-minute antics... until the Tartars rallied themselves.

Thankfully, ELAC had the last chance in the bottom of the ninth. A bases-loaded, two-out, RBI single by C Daniel Vierra sent the Huskies romping into another walk-off victory: East LA (14-11, 10-4) edged Compton (7-17, 4-7) by a score of 5-4.


The Pack jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a pair of RBI singles. Leadoff hitter Jason Vela was hit by a pitch, and advanced to second on a passed ball. Luis Rojas then knocked him by ripping a single to right, and Ruben Hernandez followed with a single of his own: Rojas slid safely into third on the relay throw from SS Sevon Battle to 3B Crixtian Taveras, and an alert Hernandez used the attention Rojas drew on his slide to advance to second. Antonio Gomez - the next batter - hit a slow ground ball to Battle who fielded cleanly and threw to first, but Gomez beat out the throw for the infield single which also drove in Rojas.

Huskies' starting pitcher Gustavo Gutierrez exhibited great control of the strike zone and excellent economical use of his pitches for the first five innings, only allowing one hit while retiring 15 of his first 16 batters faced. Unfortunately, he ran into trouble in the top of the sixth:

With the Huskies leading 4-0, a fielding error by 1B Jayden Solorio allowed Compton leadoff batter Jacob Ramirez to reach 1st safely (Solorio dove to his right to field a ground ball but failed to enclose the ball into his glove, the ball popping out and away from him). Gutierrez was able to strike out the Tartars' next batter in Johnathon Enriquez, but Sevon Battle followed with a base hit to right, putting Compton runners on 1st and 2nd. Gutierrez enduced the next batter, Noah Ford, into a fly ball out to right field, but it allowed Ramirez to advance to third with the Tartars' best hitter, Crixtian Taveras (team-leading .366 average) coming to the plate. Gutierrez, still, had a chance to finish the inning unscathed, and Taveras had gone 0-2 prior to the inning.

Unfortunately, there's a reason the 3B leads his team in hitting: he smashed a booming double to right field to score Ramirez. Bryan Vichot was up next and did more damage with a long 2RBI single to right that scored Tavares and Battle, making the score 4-3. But the Huskies would get the third out on a comeback grounder to Gutierrez who tossed the ball to Solorio, and the Pack would momentarily hold on...


...until the top of the eighth. David Morales, having relieved Gutierrez an inning prior, gave up a walk, a single, and then an RBI double to Michael Heard which tied the game at 4. The Huskies would threaten in the bottom of the eighth, getting runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out. But Jason Vela popped one up to SS Battle to end the inning and ultimately set up another edition of last-minute theatrics for the home Green.

Rojas led off the inning for the Huskies with a single to center and was pinch-run for by Jeffrey Smith. Smith then advanced to second on a groundout to third by Hernandez. Solorio, the next batter, singled to right and Smith was held up at third. Gomez followed by striking out while Solorio stole 2nd, and the next batter - Juan Guardardo - was hit in the elbow by a pitch to load the bases. Vierra was up next, facing a moment many hitters dream of: bases loaded with two out. He took the first pitch for a ball, knowing that the pressure was on Compton reliever Julyan Rico to keep the ball near the plate on his pitches.


And then, Vierra delivered.

An RBI single to right center drove home Smith, and East LA held yet another wild celebration in front of their dugout for another cardiac-inducing win.



  • Rojas, Hernandez and Gomez had two hits apiece, with Gomez driving in two of the Huskies' 4RBI on the day.
  • Reliever Joseph Campos came on for Morales with a runner on and one-out in the ninth for ELAC. He retired the next two batters and ultimately got the win (2-0).
  • Huskies (.714 ) are mere percentage-points behind Mt. SAC (.727), who also won today. Both teams will square off in less than two weeks in a three-game series that could decide which team takes control of first place in the SCC down the stretch.


ELAC looks for the series sweep as they head back to Compton on Saturday to play the third game of the weekly set. First pitch scheduled for 12:00pm.