Take away an eight-run seventh inning by host Chaffey College on Thursday against Cerritos College, and the South Coast Conference South Division champions kept their opponents off the scoreboard. Leading 4-0 heading into that fateful seventh inning, the Falcons (29-11, 14-8) went on to drop their sixth one-run game of the season, 8-7. It marked the regular season finale for Cerritos, who will find out on Sunday where they have been seeded for the upcoming Southern California Regional Playoffs.
The Panthers (19-21, 13-9) scored their eight runs on just six hits, while also receiving a bases loaded walk before a grand slam by Matthew Shea, which made the game, 7-4. Sophomore starting pitcher Micah Hee (Kamehameha, HI HS) was cruising along until a run-scoring double in the seventh inning chased him in favor of sophomore Vincent Fuentes (El Rancho HS). One of the Falcons top starters this season, Fuentes surrendered three walks and a single before getting pulled in favor of freshman Eric Winchester (Diamond Bar HS), who surrendered the grand slam.
Cerritos staged a late-inning rally that fell short. In the top of the eighth inning, sophomore third baseman Jorge Rodriguez (Bellflower HS) singled home freshman outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez (Santa Fe HS), who reached base on an error. They added two more runs in the top of the ninth inning and stranded the tying run on second base. Sophomore second baseman Jesus Mercado (St. John Bosco HS) doubled with one out and came home on a double from freshman catcher Andre Alvarez (Walnut HS). With runners on first and third, Gabriel Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly for the team's final run of the game.
The Falcons jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Rodriguez singled to start the game, followed by a two-run home run from sophomore outfielder Rollie Nichols (Serra HS). Sophomore shortstop Ramon Bramasco (Cathedral HS) followed with a single and eventually came home on an infield out by freshman first baseman Michael Gonzalez (St. Bernard HS).
Rodriguez, Mercado and Alvarez all finished with three hits and combined to drive in five runs, while Nichols went 2-for-4 with two RBI, along with a walk and scored twice.