By Luis Vasquez
The East Los Angeles College baseball team escaped with a narrow 3-2 win against South Coast Conference rival Cerritos College at Kincaid Field yesterday.
The Huskies are 18-7 overall and hold a 9-2 record in the SCC. They have a two game lead over second place El Camino College (16-8, 8-3), and lead third place Cerritos College (13-9, 6-3) by three games.
ELAC and Cerritos will play the final game of their three-game series at noon on Saturday at home on at Husky Park baseball field.
ELAC pitcher Shawn Kennedy (6-2) got the win for the Huskies pitching six innings, giving up one run while striking out two batters.
ELAC took the lead in the top of the seventh inning. ELAC right fielder Zachary Ashford drew a walk, and then advanced to third on a Yamel Zamudio double. ELAC catcher Joshua Carrasco bunted and Ashford charged home to score.
There was a collision at the plate, but the ball squirted loose giving ELAC its first lead of the game, 2-1.
“I saw the catcher with the ball and knew I had to come in strong. You (have to) play the game with intensity. There isn’t room to be soft out in the field,” Ashford said.
Husky shortstop Kevin Rodriguez laid down another bunt towards first base allowing Zamudio to score. ELAC led 3-1.
Cerritos attempted a comeback in the eighth inning when first basemen Jose Romero hit a run home run off ELAC relief pitcher Daniel Sandoval to make it a one run game.
Cerritos shortstop Daniel Lopez was then hit by a pitch. Teammate Jose Ayala came to the plate with a chance to take the lead however he hit grounded to third and into a inning ending double play.
The Huskies brought in closer Daniel Moriel in the ninth inning. He walked Shane Preston of Cerritos to start off the inning. Victor Guadalupe then bunted Preston to second base and into scoring position.
Moriel found his zone and retired the next two batters, earning his sixth save of the season and securing the Huskies win.
“There is definitely room for improvement. I believe we played a great defensive game but I feel I can pitch better to help my team get wins, Kennedy said.
Cerritos lead early in the game in the bottom of the first inning. Cerritos right fielder Jared Robinson hit a single up the middle scoring Johnny Martinez for a 1-0 lead.
Kennedy got out of a potential scoring threat in the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners on third and second base and Cerritos catcher Chris Carrillo at the plate, Kennedy kept his composure by forcing a ground out to third base to end the inning.
The Huskies tied the score in the top of the fifth inning when Ashford reached second base on a fielding error by Cerritos. Designated hitter Daniel Dominguez singled to center field and Ashford scored.
Ashford made a great play later in the game. Robinson came to the plate with a runner on third base and a chance to give his team the lead.
Robinson flied out to right field. Ashford caught the ball and threw a rocket to the ELAC to prevent Cerritos from scoring.
“I give all the credit to my defense today. They backed me up all game, got me out of a couple of jams, it’s because of them that I got the win. It was a really gritty defensive effort,” Kennedy said.