By Eric Terrazas Staff Writer
SANTA FE SPRINGS – Wednesday’s third-place game of the St. Paul Easter Tournament featured two of the area’s top baseball teams in La Mirada High School and host St. Paul.
The Swordsmen and Matadores engaged in a hard-fought matchup that needed extra innings to decide. Lifted by a two-run eighth inning, La Mirada emerged as a 3-1 winner.
Matadores senior outfielder James Myres led off the top of the eighth by delivering a base hit to left field. Myres then advanced to third when junior third baseman Trent Rojo reached second base on a St. Paul error while trying to bunt.
This set the stage for senior second baseman Johnny Hills, who delivered the go-ahead RBI single to left. Rojo, standing at third, scored the game’s final run after junior outfielder Justin Knight grounded into a double play.
The Swordsmen made one last rally attempt in their half of the eighth.
After La Mirada junior relief pitcher Darren McElroy retired the first two batters, St. Paul senior catcher Joe Argumedo extended the game by delivering a single to center.
Senior first baseman Jared Paderez followed by reaching first on a Matadores miscue. McElroy, however, managed to secure the victory by getting senior third baseman Jordan Valdez to hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Paderez at second.
“It’s nice to end the Easter week with a win,” La Mirada coach Kim Brooks said. “Everyone leaves in a good frame of mind. We had a successful week. We played a lot of baseball. I’m very proud of our kids.”
Junior pitcher-outfielder Aaron Pinto drove in the only run for St. Paul (13-7). Pinto also put together a solid outing on the mound, going seven innings.
“We didn’t take advantage of our opportunities – the same as yesterday,” St. Paul coach Casey Morales said. “It’s tough to play aggressive when you are down. We didn’t take advantage of our opportunity with the bases loaded earlier in the game.”
La Mirada (11-7-1) broke through in the third when Rojo produced a run-scoring single that drove home junior catcher Jeff Murray.
The Swordsmen then deadlocked things when Pinto delivered his RBI single, which scored junior pitcher-infielder Nick Delgado. Delgado started the Swordsmen threat with a one-out base hit to center.
St. Paul will set its sights on the Del Rey League portion of its schedule, which starts April 16 with a home game against Bishop Amat.
“We are looking forward to league,” Morales said. “We survived (the preseason). We are still working and improving.”
La Mirada, which sports a 3-1 record in the Suburban League, resumes league play April 10 at Norwalk.
“I think we have a very good team,” Brooks said. “We had a difficult preseason schedule. We’re moving (along) and we’re getting ready for league next week.”