Huskies Squeeze By Vaqs
Baseball can be cruel. In the span of one day, Glendale Community College’s Jason Ochart went from penthouse to basement.
After delivering the game-winning homer in the 10th inning to beat host Moorpark, 6-5, last Thursday, Ochart was the victim of a bad-hop triple by Kevin Jones in the top of the eighth inning Friday at Stengel Field that led to a 1-0 win for East Los Angeles in a Western State Conference Tournament game.
The frame began with Vaqueros’ pitcher Joe Stephen retiring Martin Rodriguez on a liner, and Tony Andrade on a grounder.
Jones, a right-handed hitter, lashed a ball to right field as Ochart raced over to make the play. But the ball skidded on the grass, and Jones wound up at third base. Ricardo Arias drilled the first pitch – a high fastball – into center field, scoring Jones.
Facing reliever Jesse Silva, who entered in the eighth and picked up the save, GCC (2-1) sent six batters to the plate in the ninth, and loaded the bases.
“We had several scoring opportunities, but we didn’t capitalize on them,’’ said GCC Head Coach Chris Cicuto. “We haven’t played that many games, but this is unacceptable.”
Sako Chapjian was hit to begin the frame, and Ian Wilson forced him at second base. Michael Sherwin doubled to left, moving Wilson to third.
Thomas Cruz came in as a pinch runner for Sherwin (two hits), and Malachi Silva walked, with Enrique Osuna running for Silva.
Ruben Padilla fanned looking for the second out, and Mark Andrade did the same.
Silva was brilliant, striking out five, walking one, hitting one batter, and allowing one hit. If the Huskies (2-1) are going to succeed, it will be because of their pitching.
“It’s still early in the season, but we have a pretty good pitching staff,’’ said Head Coach James Hines before the contest. “We can score runs, but so far it’s been pitching and defense.”
ELAC had hits in the first four innings off Stephen, who started his first game and surrendered eight hits over nine innings, with two strikeouts, and three hit batters.
“Joe pitched a great game,’’ said Cicuto. “He didn’t throw a lot of pitches, and he was ahead on the count to most of the hitters.”
With two out in the first, David Magallon doubled to left center, but Arnold Banuelos grounded out. In the second, Ryan Doeppel singled to center with one out, stole second, advanced to third on a grounder, but Rodriguez bounced to shortstop Padilla.
Tony Andrade led off the third inning with a single to right, before being picked off by Stephen. Magellan’s single opened the fourth, but Banuelos hit into a force out.
GCC was held to four hits by David Arredondo, who earned the win after working seven innings with one strikeout and one walk. Chapjian had a lead-off single in the second, and a two-out hit in the sixth.