By Carlos Alvarez
For the fourth consecutive season the East Los Angeles College baseball team failed to move past the first round of the Southern Regional playoffs.
“It’s tough to advance in the playoffs. You don’t have anybody that’s chopped liver. We (have to) figure out how to get over the hump,” ELAC Head Coach James Hines said.
The No.15th-seeded Huskies did not continue their come from behind magic, losing the three-game series, 2-1, to the No. 2-seeded Oxnard College.
After splitting the first two games of the series in a dramatic fashion, ELAC was unable to muster much offense in game three, losing 2-0.
“You might look at the scores and say that our offense didn’t produce, but we are facing legitimate guys. Some of the pitchers we faced will be in the pros, our hitters were not intimidated at all,” Hines said.
Oxnard starting pitcher Blake Redman dominated the inconsistent ELAC offense. Redman pitched a complete game shutout, allowing five hits while out dueling ELAC’s South Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year Roman Davalos.
“Redman was in another level. He was strong mixing in his pitches. He kept us off balanced. Davalos was a little pumped up in the first which is natural, but otherwise outstanding,” Hines said.
Davalos was dominant, but the two first-inning runs gave up were too much for ELAC to overcome. He pitched a complete game in a losing effort, giving up two runs off of six hits.
“It was a great series. We gave it our all, we came up short, but we can’t hang our heads because we battled with a great ball club,” ELAC third baseman Michael Aguilar said.
The first game of the series went to extra innings with Oxnard defeating ELAC 4-3 in 10 innings.
Oxnard starting pitcher Luke Eubank was dominant and overpowering. He pitched nine innings, allowing three runs (one earned) while striking out 10.
After being down two runs late in the game, ELAC mounted their comeback. The Husky offense, helped by some sloppy Oxnard defense, scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie the score at three-all.
Oxnard catcher Ryan Tinkham led-off the top of the 10th inning with a double. ELAC relief pitcher Tony Monroy came into relieve teammate Gabriel Ramos who pitched six strong innings. Ramos gave up three runs while while helping maintain ELAC in the game.
With Tinkham on second, Oxnard designated hitter Julian Ramon singled up the middle scoring Tinkham to give Oxnard the win in game one.
Needing to win to avoid elimination ELAC starting pitcher Shawn Kennedy got the start. Kennedy pitched eight strong innings, allowing one run while striking out eight.
In game three and down to their last out, ELAC shortstop Kevin Rodriguez forced a decisive game three. With runners at second and third bases, Rodriguez hit a walk-off single to give ELAC a 2-1 victory, keeping their season alive.
“It was an opportunity for a clutch moment and he (Rodriguez) was able to come through with a hit that tied the series and forced game three,” Aguilar said.