By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
LA PUENTE — Forgive La Salle High School baseball coach Harry Agajanian for being so blunt, but he acknowledged competing with Bishop Amat for several innings before falling, 8-3, in Wednesday’s Del Rey League opener was somewhat of a moral victory.
Just last week Bishop Amat (5-1, 1-0) advanced to the championship game of the prestigious Newport Elks tournament, where it lost to Orange Lutheran after four impressive wins that earned the Lancers a brief stay atop MaxPreps’ state poll.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Agajanian said. “They were on the road against a team that could potentially beat us up pretty good, but we hung in there and battled. We weren’t afraid to go pitch to pitch with those guys.
“This wasn’t a loss to us. This was a competitive fight and another step in our journey.”
With firepower such as catcher Jerry McClanahan, shortstop Rio Ruiz and outfielders Jay Anderson and Jordan McCraney, Amat unleashed a new weapon for opponents to think about in the form of junior Sebi Zavala, who was 3 for 3 with a double, single and two-run triple in the fourth inning. Last week Zavala hit three homers in a 7-2 win over Mater Dei.
Bishop Amat jumped to a 2-0 lead in first inning after Anderson led off with a triple to center. He was doubled home by Joe Eusebio, who advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on McClanahan’s ground out.
It stayed that way until the fourth inning when Zavala tripled in two runs and scored on Jonathan Velasquez’s squeeze to make it 5-0.
“That triple to lead off the first was a catchable ball, our center fielder just misplayed it,” Agajanian said. “If we had kept the first inning to 0-0 it might have changed the complexity of the game.