By Carlos Alvarez
The East Los Angeles College baseball team ended the regular season with a sweep of Cerritos College and an eight game winning streak that propelled them into the playoffs.
The Huskies advanced to the playoffs as the 17th seed and will play a single game elimination game tomorrow at No. 15th seed Rio Hondo College.”We have been playing all season on the road. Will be alright. Our guys just have to be loose and play their game worries free,” Coach James Hines said.The Roadrunners have an impressive 16-4 record at home.
“We have to stay focused for tomorrow’s game, we all know its a big game we just have to come out and play like we know were capable of playing,” Starting pitcher Elias Novelo.
The winner will advance to the Regionals to play either No. 1 seed Fullerton College or No. 2 seed Riverside City College, depending on the winner of the other elimination game matchup No. 18 seed Santa Barbara City College vs. No. 16 see El Camino Compton-Center.
ELAC finished the regular season with an overall record of 24-12, 14-7 in south coast conference play. The Huskies finishing tied for second place with Compton College, but advanced to the playoffs as the third place team due to the Tartars holding the season tie-breaker 2-1.
In the first game of the three game series against the Falcons, ELAC defeated Cerritos 15-2. Leading the way for the Husky offense was Joseph Tellez who had three singles in four at bats, driving in three runs.
Starting for ELAC and making his first start of the season was freshman Adam Padilla, who pitched seven dominant innings, allowing two runs (one earned) off of five hits. The Huskies were able to take advantage of four Falcon errors scoring nine runs off of starting pitcher Jared Robinson, only three runs were earned.
In the second game, the Huskies and Falcons went extra innings with ELAC coming away with a 3-2 victory in 12 innings.
The Huskies were dominated by Falcon starting pitcher Sebastian Frutos who had great composure and control throughout the game. Frutos pitched seven and two-thirds of an inning, allowing one run off of six hits, while striking out four Husky hitters.
With the Huskies down 2-1 and two outs away from defeat Zachary Ashford hit a game tying home run that sent the game into extra innings.
The Huskies went on to score the winning run in the bottom of the 12th when Falcon pitcher Dalton Gervais wild pitch scored Rodrigo Martinez from third. Martinez had singled with one out in the inning and advanced to third on a single by Andrew Gutierrez.
Novelo tweeted after the game,”Today was one saucy ass game.”
In the final game the Husky offense made sure that no late inning heroics were needed spanking the Falcons 14-6. Leading the way for the offense was Kyle Peralta, who was a perfect four for four at the plate with four hits, while driving in three runs.
Leading 8-4 in the ninth, the Huskies put the game away scoring six runs putting any chance of a Falcon comeback to sleep.
The beneficiary of this offensive outburst was Novelo (7-1), who pitched six effective innings, allowing four earned runs off of nine hits.
“I knew the situation we were in I needed to pitch a good game. I had a rough inning, but I knew the bullpen will back me up,” Novelo said. Heading into the last game of the Huskies had already claim a playoff spot, but they needed a win to assure themselves of a reasonable seeding position.
Starting the single elimination game will be Padilla, who has appeared in 10 games all season, winning his lone start against Cerritos.”We have confidence in Padilla, he has pitched in playoff situations in high school. It’s his turn in the rotation he will be fine,” Coach James Hines said.
Padilla will face a potent offense in Rio Hondo College, lead by freshman first baseman Alex Campos. Campos lead the Foothill Conference in home runs (7) and runs batted in with 37.
“If we stay mentally strong and play our game, we should come out with a victory. Rio Hondo is a great team. Should be a battle.”Hines said.