By Carlos Alvarez
Unable to back up a strong pitching performance from sophomore Juan Vera, the Husky baseball team lost to the Cougars of College of the Canyons by a score of 4-2 on Wednesday afternoon.
Four games into the season, the Huskies, ranked No. 16 in the SoCal California Community College baseball poll, have split two, three games against ranked opponents.
The Huskies opened the season beating No. 9-ranked Riverside City College, 4-3, and lost a close battle against No. 3-ranked Rio Hondo. The Huskies beat Citrus College, 8-3, last Saturday.
Against No. 11-ranked Canyons, Vera pitched seven strong innings and allowed three runs, two of which were earned, resulting in a tough-luck loss.
“Well, I obviously feel bad that Vera didn’t get the win. We didn’t swing the bats the way we are capable of,” said first baseman Manny Estevez. In a game that was never separated by more than three runs, ELAC could only muster a total of eight hits.
Five of those came from the outfield tandem of Andrew Gutirrez (3 hits) and Jaime Figueroa (2 hits). “It was a game in which our offense struggled and just couldn’t get going,” said head coach James Hines.
The Huskies could not put together many scoring opportunities, but in their last at bats in the ninth inning they had a chance to make something happen. With runners on first and second and one out, their offense had a chance to redeem themselves.
“As the season started, we felt that offensively our hitting will be our strong point, but our pitching has been a pleasant surprise,” said Hines. But as has been the story so far this season, they weren’t able to produce any runs. The next batter up flied to center and the last batter struck out swinging to end the game.
“We had a chance to win this game. Our kids have to keep working hard. We have to learn how to win the close games,” said Hines. Hines said the season is young, but the hitting is coming along and if the pitcher continues to pitch well, the team might reach the goal of making a playoff run.
“We have to take these games serious. We can’t take these games for granted,” said Estevez.
The Huskies play at Los Angeles Valley College today at noon.