CONDORS STOP HERE: California saw its season come to an end with a 4-2 loss to Paramount in a CIF-SS Division 3 first-round game on Friday.
Staff Photo by Keith Durflinger
CONDORS DIE HARD:There will be no magical CIF-Southern Section playoff run for California High School. But the Condors died hard.
Aaron Pleitez had two hits and an RBI, Ulices Moreno and Frankie Valenzuela combined to throw two shutout innings in relief and visiting Paramount thwarted California rallies in the sixth and seventh innings to secure a 4-2 victory in a Division 3 first-round game on Friday.
The Pirates improved to 18-9 and will face either University or Quartz Hill in Tuesday’s second round.
California, which got RBIs from Ruben Pinedo and Daniel Marquez, finished 18-8
CARMONA DELIVERS FOR WHITTIER: The Whittier High School baseball team wanted to avoid extra innings at any cost in the opening game of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. Past history proves it.
The Cardinals had lost three of five extra-inning games in the Del Rio League this season, but they avoided going extra innings Friday when Cody Carmona delivered a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Ocean View, 5-4, at Santa Fe High.
The victory propels the Cardinals (17-10) into the second round where they will play third-seeded Alhambra (21-3), a 6-0 first-round winner over Carter, on Tuesday at a site to be determined
MONTEBELLO FALLS TO GARDEN GROVE: A porous defense Friday afternoon washed away any hopes Montebello High School’s baseball team had of advancing in the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.
The Oilers (15-10) committed six errors, all on the infield, allowing visiting Garden Grove to cruise to a 4-1 victory.
Garden Grove 4, Montebello 1
Paramount 4, California 2
Whittier 5, Ocean View 4
Beckman 1, El Rancho 0
Westminster 7, La Serna 6
All games begin at 3:15 p.m.
Instead, it’s Paramount which has that feeling, and the Pirates have Moreno and Valenzuela to thank.
The Condors, after being held hitless by Pirates’ starter Alex Navarette through the first four innings, finally broke threw with a bunt single in the fifth.
California, after Paramount took a 4-0 lead in the sixth, then rallied in its half of the inning, cutting the deficit to 4-2 following singles by Michael Davis and Michael Esparza before Pinedo followed with an RBI groundout and Marquez with a RBI single.
But Moreno, after hitting Jesse Oropeza, induced Robert Barraza to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
The Condors then put the runners on first and second with no outs in the seventh following a walk to Robert Blount and a single by Alec Ojeda. But Valenzuela sent the Pirates into the next round after getting Davis on a fouled bunt with two strikes and back-to-back fielder’s choices by Esparza and Pinedo.
“They’ve been doing that all year,” Paramount coach Cameron Chinn said of his pitchers. “The pressure of the situation, the event said it’s nervous time and (Moreno and Valenzuela) didn’t show any of that at all.”
Paramount, which finished third in the tough San Gabriel Valley League, took a 1-0 lead in the first. The Pirates fought off a pair of two-strike at-bats and took the advantage following a walk to Erick Cruz, a single by Fernando Rios and a RBI single by Valenzuela, who popped a 1-2 pitch into left field to score Cruz for the 1-0 lead.
Paramount made it 4-0 in the sixth. Rios led off with a double before Steven Espinoza tripled over center fielder Esparza’s head. Esparza misplayed the ball for an error, allowing Espinoza to score for a 3-0 lead.
Pleitez followed back-to-back walks with a RBI single to make it 4-0.
It seemed to be more than enough for Navarette, who allowed just a walk through the first four innings.
But the Condors weren’t about to go quietly.
California, after breaking up the no-hit bid with a bunt single by Dominick Rodriguez in the fifth, got three hits in the sixth, including the RBI single by Marquez, before its rally fell short in the seventh.
“Our team never quits, as you can tell over the last four or five weeks of the regular season,” Nieto said. “We don’t quit. We’re here until the last out.
“Their pitchers were doing a good job. But we had them on the ropes a lot. Again, one big hit, and we’re right there. I’m so proud of my team for not quitting. Any other team might have said, ‘The game’s over.’ But we gutted it out and gave ourselves a shot.”