By Dan Gudino
After a long disappointing season, baseball concluded the 2017 season with a loss at home 4-2, to Cerritos College last Thursday.
All season long, Huskies sophomore designated hitter Kyle Francis, performed at high levels and in the season finale he launched a towering homer run to the deepest part of center field in the fourth inning, tying the game at one. The ball would have traveled further, 380-plus feet, but protective netting circles around the field.
“I knew what (the Cerritos pitcher) was doing. He kept leaving pitches over the plate. Previous inning, he was leaving pitches for others. So, with me, he left two over the middle and I got a good swing and connected well with it,” Francis said of his equalizing long ball.
Francis, from Redmond, Washington, will await and see where he plays next. There are no current offers, however there is interest from a list of schools.
“I had fun this season. We didn’t do well, but I liked the culture here. Everyone got along, a much different experience from my last. Being able to come back (from elbow surgery) and pitch this season, and get a start two days ago was such a highlight,” Francis described, as he finishes with a team-high four home runs, was second in team-runs batted in with 24 and third in batting average at .311.
East Los Angeles College ends with a 16-24 record, missed playoffs for a third straight year, and was last in conference.
“We do have some core guys that are going to come back and compete for us next year. We’ll have them do exactly what we need. It’s going to have to be a different mindset, with guys making each other accountable. We need to be tougher mentally next season,” ELAC head coach James Hines said.
Hines said he felt this season was going to be much better than last, but finished with two less wins than last year as he enters his 20th season as head coach.
“I need to get better as well. There’s no finger pointing. I have to look back and see the finer points and make sure I look at myself and fix anything to make this team better. Everyone, including me is evaluated,” Hines said.
Husky sophomore pitcher Alex Carrillo, nicknamed ‘Ace,’ was the starter for game one of the season and game No. 40 as he put on a Husky uniform for the last time, in his eighth loss. Carrillo had two wins in 13 starts.
“I didn’t have the best start, but then I was finding my position. I left pitches up and they got them,” Carrillo said of his closing act, where in innings three and four, he dealt five strikeouts in six at bats.
Carrillo was charged for all four runs and allowed five of Cerritos’s six hits, striking out a season-high 10.
In the eighth inning with a 2-1 ELAC lead, Carrillo struggled with accuracy, as his ball control diminished, allowing a two-run, lead changing double, followed by an insurance RBI single.
After relinquishing the lead, Hines pulled Carrillo out and he made his last walk to the dugout, to claps and high-fives of his teammates and a small group of cheering Husky fans.
“I don’t know what’s next for me, but there is an offer from (University of) St. Mary’s (in Leavenworth, Kansas) and all I could do now is continue to work on my pitching. Just keep doing what I’m doing and keep it up,” Carrillo said.
Prior to the game, sophomores were acknowledged for their efforts as 11 players move on.
Baseball news from around Southern California: No. 1 state ranked El Camino College was swept in a three-game series and upset by No. 16 Long Beach City College, forcing a share of the South Coast Conference title between both teams.
El Camino finished on a five-game losing streak as it ended its own school record, 25-game win streak.
Long-time Ventura College head coach Don Adams, coached and won his final game of his 22-year career, last Friday against Santa Barbara City College. Adams played, taught and coached as an assistant at Ventura prior to becoming a head coach with nearly 600 wins.
Playoffs start Friday with the Southern California Regional bracket, followed by Super Regional Playoffs, then a Sectional Bracket, culminating in the State Championship at Fresno City College, May 27-29.