By Janet Guereca
In a close game against Rio Hondo College on Friday, the baseball team lost its last game of the regular season on a walk-off run.
After winning the first two games in the series, the Huskies could not complete the sweep against Rio Hondo. They left the bases loaded twice and left runners stranded multiple times throughout the series’ final game.
The game was off to a slow start as both teams remained scoreless through the first three innings.
The Huskies scored the game’s first run during the top of the fourth inning.
The scoring started with batter Ruben Hernandez who singled up the middle. The next batter, Beno Olmeda, bunted, and an error by Rio Hondo allowed him to be safe at first base.
With no outs and runners on first and second, left fielder Alex Mendez hit a sacrifice bunt and advanced the runners.
Following a walk allowed by Rio Hondo pitcher Ryan Perez, Rio Hondo had a meeting on the mound.
The bases were loaded for third baseman Emiliano Campos, who hit a sacrifice fly. Eskridge advanced to second, and Olmeda advanced to third. Hernandez scored after Rio Hondo’s catcher did not control the ball thrown to home plate.
The Huskies ended the top of the fourth inning with the bases loaded after first baseman Daniel Vierra was down 1-2 in the count and struck out looking.
It did not take long for Rio Hondo to respond to the Huskies’ one-run lead. Rio Hondo’s first baseman Joshua Perez hit a home run, tying the game 1-1.
That was Rio Hondo’s only run scored in the inning. The fourth inning ended with Huskies pitcher Francisco Dominguez striking out the next two batters.
The momentum for Rio Hondo continued into the bottom of the fifth inning, where they took a 2-1 lead.
They quickly had runners on first and second. Shortstop Freddie Madera singled, and second baseman Adrian Soto scored.
The Huskies attempted to tie the game during the sixth inning.
The first batter of the inning, Mendez, reached second base after Rio Hondo centerfielder Nolan Anguiano made an error in the outfield.
The next Husky batter, Eskridge, singled, advancing the lead runner to third.
The Huskies had runners on first and third with zero outs, which brought a pitching change for Rio Hondo. The head coach chose pitcher Nicolas Masucci out of the bullpen to finish the inning.
The first out of the inning came on a fielder’s decision to get the runner advancing to second.
The inning was not over. The Huskies still had an opportunity to score with runners on first and third.
Batter Nicholas Bobadilla showed discipline at the plate and got the count to 3-1. Masucci threw another ball, and Bobadilla walked to first.
The bases were once again loaded with only one out for Vierra. The count got to 2-2 before he hit the ball into an inning-ending double play.
A promising inning for the Huskies ended with no runs scored.
Rio Hondo responded with a single in the sixth inning but could not take advantage of it to increase their lead.
In the seventh inning, the Huskies faced Ramon Brion, the third Rio Hondo pitcher of the game.
The Huskies were once again in a position to tie the game after the lead-off batter Matthew McIntire singled. The next batter Michael Easter also got on base.
With no outs and runners on first and second, Hernandez hit a sacrifice bunt and advanced the runners.
Following the sacrifice bunt, Olmeda singled, and McIntire scored, which tied the game 2-2.
The Huskies had only one out with two runners on base for a chance to score more runs and increase their lead. Unfortunately, that did not happen, as the next batter, Mendez, was the second out of the inning.
Rio Hondo switched pitchers for the third out, and pitcher David Medrano took the mound.
Husky outfielder Eskridge fought to get the count to 3-2 before he struck out swinging. Once again, the Huskies were unable to score another run.
Dominguez pitched a quick bottom of the seventh, only facing the minimum batters.
As the game went on, neither team scored another run. The close game seemed as if it was headed toward extra innings.
The Huskies started the eighth inning with a double from Campos. He was tagged out on the next at-bat on a fielder’s choice after a Bobadilla bunt.
Meanwhile, Rio Hondo started the bottom of the eighth with a single from Madera. They were also unable to take advantage of the runners on base.
The Huskies ended the inning with a defensive double play.
During the second at-bat in the top of the ninth inning, the Huskies had a chance to score again.
An error from shortstop Madera allowed Hernandez to reach first safely.
The Huskies singled at their next at-bat, and runners were on first and second for Mendez.
Rio Hondo responded with another pitching change, with pitcher Dominic Versluis entering the game.
The change proved effective for Rio Hondo as Versluis got the next two batters he faced out. This brought the Huskies’ momentum to a halt.
After a solid pitching start from Dominguez, he walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the ninth. With only one out and runners on base, Rio Hondo’s Soto singled to the outfield.
Husky right fielder Elkridge dove in an attempt to secure an out. However, the ball was out of reach and landed just outside his outreached glove.
Rio Hondo won in walk-off fashion as lead runner Dylan Schumacher scored.
The Huskies walked off the field in defeat as Rio Hondo celebrated their 3-2 win.
Despite the loss, the Huskies’ record was enough to receive an invitation to play in the CCCAA Baseball So Cal Regional playoff.
The Huskies will look to perform their best as this is their first playoff appearance in five years.
The Huskies will play the first game of the playoffs against Palomar College on Friday.