By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
WEST COVINA – The game plan for the South Hills High School baseball team is pretty simple this season.
It includes getting good situational hitting, then turn it over to its pitching staff, which can be dominant at times.
The Huskies used both traits to perfection Friday.
Manny Munoz came through with a key at-bat during the fourth inning and Gavin Velasquez was steady on the mound as host South Hills rallied for a 4-2 victory over Chino Hills in the Sierra League opener for both teams.
Velazquez, who hadn’t given up an earned run in his two previous starts, tossed a 6-hitter and struck out four for South Hills, which improved to 5-1. Chino Hills, getting two hits from JP Hopkins, slipped to 7-1.
Velasquez, after giving up five hits during the first three innings, closed with dominance. He retired 14 of the final 15 batters, including nine of the final 10 to protect the lead. He gave up a lead-off single to Coby Myers in the seventh before closing the door on Chino Hills, with a groundout, a strike out and line drive to shortstop.
South Hills, after falling behind 2-0 after three innings, scored all its runs in the fourth. Quinn Cotter and Francisco Ramirez led off with singles. Brandon Jauregui walked to load the bases before Cotter scored on a passed ball to make it 2-1. Nick Carrillo, after Gabe Chavez walked, singled home pinch-runner Ryan Cohen to tie it at 2.
Munoz then hit a hard grounder to third for a two-base error, scoring Jauregui and Chavez for a 4-2 lead.
South Hills coach Darren Murphy: “It’s a great win against probably the league favorite. That’s a huge one. Who ever got this first ‘W’ was going to put them in a good spot. I feel real happy for Gavin Velasquez. He’s thrown 15 innings without an earned run coming into today. Once we got up, he was pretty convinced the was going to get his first ‘W.’”
South Hills’ Gavin Velasquez: “After that big inning where we scored four runs, I settled down, We had momentum on our side. I was able to locate (the ball) a little better and that was it.”
South Hills’ Manny Munoz: “I just wanted to get the bat on the ball. I knew I had to runners in scoring position. I wanted to put it anywhere to get them in.”
By Stephen Ramirez