By Steve Ramirez
EL MONTE – The race for the Mission Valley League baseball title got a little tighter Friday.
Arroyo made sure of it.
Derick Martin singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth and Randy McCormick induced a double-play with the tying run at third with one out in the seventh and the host Knights moved into a first-place tie with Mountain View with a 3-2 victory in a battle of the top two teams in the league.
Arroyo, also getting RBIs from McCormick and Lorenzo Perez, improved to 6-7 overall and 5-2 in league play. Jordan Santone and Jose Moreno had RBIs for Mountain View, which slipped to 7-9 and 5-2.
“This was definitely one of the biggest wins of the season,” Martin said. “Hopefully, we can carry this momentum and try to keep it going and build the gap between us and everybody else.”
Friday was all about closing the gap, and the Knights had to do it the hard way, coming back from an early 2-0 deficit to get back in the league race.
McCormick had a RBI double to make it 2-1 in the fourth before advancing to third on an error and scoring on an RBI single by Perez.
The Knights then took advantage of Mountain View’ miscues to take the lead in the sixth. Gabriel Gomez reached on a dropped flyball before Arroyo loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch and a bunt single by Damian Gutierrez.
Martin followed with his RBI single for the 3-2 lead. But the Knights were denied more when a base-running mistake caused the Vikings to tag out Ruben Velasquez and Gutierrez. Marco Duenes then flied out to end the inning.
“We do a lot of live hitting, so our hitters our prepared for that,” Arroyo coach Randy Twist said. “We knew he was going to be (around the plate), and we love that, because it gives us a chance to be aggressive.”
Mountain View nearly tied it in the seventh, putting runners on first and third with one out following a single by Santone and an error that allowed Moreno to reach first.
But McCormick induced Josh Martinez, who had two hits, to hit into a 1-6-3 double play to end the game.
“We had the right play called — a hit and run,” Mountain View coach Angel Lopez said. “It just happened to be a come-backer. If it gets through, someone is safe and we tie the game. But (McCormick) made a good play and they get the double play to end the game. It happens.
“It makes the rest of the year tight. We knew it was going to be close. Every league game has been close. (There is) still a long way to go.”
By Steve Ramirez