Baseball: Backs against the wall after playoff loss

Michael Gonzalez hit a home run and walked in the Falcons loss
Michael Gonzalez hit a home run and walked in the Falcons loss

Hosting conference rival El Camino College in a best-of-three Southern California Super Regional, the Cerritos College baseball team dropped a 6-2 decision at Kincaid Field on Friday afternoon. The loss forces the #1-seeded Falcons (31-12) in a must-win situation at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday against the #11-seeded Warriors (27-17), which will force a third game, scheduled for noon on Sunday.

Sophomore starting pitcher Gilbert Romero (Alhambra HS) mowed down six of the first nine El Camino batters through the first three innings, but allowed a single run in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth inning. A leadoff walk to Jose Ruiz, Jr. came back to haunt him in the fourth inning when Spencer Palmer singled him home with two outs. Another two-out hit, this a two-run double from Diego Alarcon gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead against Romero (3-1), who came out after the fifth inning.

Cerritos slowly worked their way back into the game with a leadoff solo home run from freshman first baseman Michael Gonzalez (St. Bernard HS) in the bottom of the fifth inning, while they pushed across another run in the sixth inning against Kenneth Haus (10-1). Sophomore outfielder Rollie Nichols (Serra HS) singled under the outstretched glove of second baseman Taishi Nakawane and then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore shortstop Ramon Bramasco (Cathedral HS). Nichols then came home on a single by sophomore second baseman Jesus Mercado (St John Bosco HS). Gonzalez walked with two outs, but freshman outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez (Santa Fe HS) lined out to El Camino shortstop Spencer Long to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh inning, Alarcon struck again, as he doubled off freshman relief pitcher Eric Winchester (Diamond Bar HS) with two outs to make it a 5-2 game. The Falcons looked to turn an inning-ending double play two batters prior, but Takawane was able to beat the throw to first base. Ruiz Jr. kept the inning alive with a single, which set the table for Alarcon.

Haus threw 130 pitches in his eight innings against the Falcons and allowed two runs on four hits and walked four. Cerritos was unable to cash in on runners in scoring position in the first, fifth and sixth innings.

Photos by Daryl Peterson