By Carlos Alvarez
The East Los Angeles College baseball team clinched a three-game South Coast Conference series with a 7-1 victory against El Camino College Compton Center on Saturday at the MLB Youth Academy baseball field in Compton.
With the win, the state’s No. 7-ranked Huskies clinched their third consecutive series win in SCC play. ELAC will begin a crucial three-game SCC series at home against Cerritos College (13-9, 6-3) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
“We know everyone is coming after us, because we are the best right now. We are just going to bring our ‘A’ game against Cerritos,” ELAC starting pitcher Jose Amezquita said.
ELAC, 16-6 and 8-1 in SCC play, was led by Amezquita (3-1) who pitched eight dominant innings, giving up one run and six hits while striking out three.
“He (Amezquita) was great all game, keeping hitters off balance and working both sides of the plate,” ELAC Assistant Coach Phillip Valdez said.
After giving up a lead-off single to the first batter Amezquita faced, Compton shortstop Larry Barraza, he followed with retiring 15 consecutive batters. “I had good rhythm throughout the game. My defense had my back out there today,” Amezquita said.
With Amezquita in full control, the ELAC offense took advantage of some sloppy Compton defense. ELAC scored four runs in the first inning on two errors by Compton first baseman Martin Teague and added one run in the second to lead 5-0.
An offensive spark came from ELAC leadoff hitter shortstop Kevin Rodriguez who had two hits, scored two runs and was walked twice.
“K-rod (Rodriguez) was doing everything for us today, defensively and offensively,” Amezquita said.
ELAC third baseman Michael Aguilar and first baseman Jonathan Larson each drove in two runs. Aguilar collected three hits while Larson added two.
Compton starting pitcher Jesse Betancourt settled down after the first two innings, holding ELAC scoreless for the remainder of his outing. He pitched seven innings striking out three.
“Good teams capitalize on other teams’ mistakes, (which) we (ELAC) took advantage. Not our best game offensively, but we got the win,” Valdez said.
The lone run for Compton came in the eighth inning when left fielder Christopher Costa led off with a double and scored on a groundout by ELAC third baseman Joshua Porras making the score 5-1.
ELAC added two more runs in the ninth to give closer Daniel Moriel a six-run cushion.
Moriel was dominant in his one inning of work, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
“Strong pitching and solid defense is the key for us. We will just approach each game the same way,” Amezquita said.