By Robert Barrett
Playing fundamentally-sound ball, the East Los Angeles College baseball team recovered from an earlier loss to take a three-game series 2-1 from Long Beach City College.
ELAC lost the first game of a three game series against the Vikings, but behind dominant pitching and fundamental baseball, the Huskies took the series after winning at home 10-5 and on the road 6-1.
Thursday at Cal State L.A, ELAC used defense and speed to win the game.
ELAC took an early lead after scoring two runs in the bottom of the first.
The lead vanished quickly in the top of the third when ELAC committed their only error that helped the Vikings to a three-run inning.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the third inning, sophomore Ricardo Arias hit a 355 ft. bomb over the right-center field wall, which was the first of the season for the Huskies.
With Arias’s homer, the ELAC crowd and team were rejuvenated and all the momentum was with ELAC. “He got a pitch that was up in the zone, and got pretty good barrel on the ball and got some lift on it that ended up getting out of the yard,” said Manager James Hines.
Freshman Cameron Baker kept the LBCC bats silent for most of the game until the top of the seventh inning when Viking sophomore Joe Lent hit a double to left field.
Moments later, Hines retrieved Baker resulting in a cheer from his team and the crowd.
Leading 5-3, ELAC turned to reliever Christian Madrid to finish the game.
Madrid started the seventh with no outs and a runner in scoring position and allowed only one run in the inning, maintaining the 5-4 lead.
With a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the eighth, ELAC left nothing to chance extending its lead to 10-4 after six singles, two stolen bases and a walk.
ELAC allowed one run in the bottom of the ninth but would take game two of the series 10-5.
With the series tied 1-1, the third and final game was at LBCC on Saturday.
Once again, ELAC struck first.
In the top of the first inning with two outs, freshman Daniel Catalan forced a walk and then stole second base.
With two outs and a runner on second, Sophomore Andy Salcido hit a double to right field bringing in the first of Salcido’s three RBIs.
“Kept grinding it out…I kept working,” said Salcido.
ELAC added another run in the second inning after sophomore Frank Martinez singled to left scoring freshman Arnold Banuelos who was waiting on second base.
The two-run lead was enough to secure the victory when ELAC pitcher Chris Reyes allowed only one run in the fifth inning and pitched a complete game.
“Everything went right. I was throwing strikes and hitting my spots,” said Reyes.
With great pitching and defense, ELAC easily won the final game of the series, 6-1.
Every Husky contributed to this win, whether it was a base hit, a sacrifice bunt, throwing a runner out, a diving catch or a strikeout.
“We did a lot of good things both offensively and defensively and from the mound,” said Hines. “Probably one of our more complete games that we’ve played this year.”
The Huskies were able to give LBCC their first two conference losses while bringing their own overall record to 10-9 and their conference record back to .500, 3-3.
ELAC played yesterday but scores were not available before press time. ELAC will play tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. at Cal State L.A.