Montebello’s Adam Rubio (7) dives back into first base ahead of the tag by Alhambra first baseman Vance Tovalin (26) in the third inning of a prep baseball game at Alhambra High School in Alhambra, Calif., Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Montebello won 3-2. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)
By Stephen Ramirez
ALHAMBRA — Montebello High School is in the cat bird seat.
The Oilers are sitting pretty after rallying for a 3-2 win over host Alhambra in a key Almont League baseball game Tuesday at Moor Field.
Justin DeLeon had two hits and a key RBI triple for Montebello, who improved to 11-9 overall and 9-1 in league play. The Oilers moved three games ahead of the Moors, who slipped to 11-7 and 6-4, and at least two games ahead of Schurr, who hosted Bell Gardens on Tuesday.
Nick Giambalvo and Christian Maciel each had a RBI for Alhambra.
The two teams meet again at Montebello on Friday.
Montebello, which had just one hit during the first four innings, broke through in the fifth. Arturo Angeles reached on an error to begin the inning. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored with two outs on a single by Rich Santoscoy that made it 2-1.
DeLeon then tied it with a RBI triple on a line drive that landed just inside the left-field foul line. Andrew Jimenez followed with single to right field for a 3-2 advantage.
Montebello’s Justin DeLeon: “This puts us three (ahead of Alhambra). It’s a really big win. It’s going good for us, and we’re going to be on top. We have them again on Thursday, and we’re going to do the same thing again.”
Alhambra coach Steve Gewecke: “We’re fighting for our playoff lives. You can forget about the league. We have to get in. We have to find a way to win a game.”
Nick Gallegos hitting a two run home run in the top of the third inning. California High School Boys baseball team won the game against La Serna High School 6-3 in Whittier Friday, April 24, 2015.(Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)
By Stephen Ramirez
WHITTIER — For the second consecutive game, La Serna High School got off to an early lead against rival California, and once again the Condors showed they had the Lancers right where they wanted them.
Nick Gallegos hit a two-run home run in the third inning and made a game-saving catch in the fifth as California rallied for a 6-3 victory over host La Serna in a key Del Rio League game on Friday.
Eric Sotelo also had two hits and a RBI for the Condors, who improved to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in league play. California, ranked No. 2 in the area and No. 3 in CIF-Southern Section Division 4, began the day tied for first with Santa Fe, which was at El Rancho on Friday.
John Mendoza hit a two-run home run to lead the Lancers, who slipped to 15-9 and 5-4.
Cal coach Tony Nieto: “I’m so proud of our team. They are so resilient. They’ve bought into Condor way, in terms of playing scrappy, hard-nosed baseball. La Serna is a good team. They’ve got some good hitters, pitchers. But we got some good ones, too. We’re going to fight until that 21st out.”
California’s Nick Gallegos: “My at-bats, I always look for fastballs. I got one right down the middle. It was one of the greatest swings I ever took. It came right off the bat. Once I rounded first, I had no doubt that it was gone.”
La Serna’s John Mendoza: “From the moment I hit it I thought it was over,” Mendoza said. “I thought it was going to be a completely different game. But he made a great play.”
La Serna coach Anthony Gonzales Jr.: “One bad inning. We were a foot away. First time in eight years I’ve seen someone rob a home run right there. (The) kid made a heckuva play; had a heckuva day. What are you going to do, it’s baseball.”
If you have any scores or stats from any local high school sporting events call them into the desk at 626-544-0992 or 0991 or scores@SGVN
Whittier Christian 3, Village Christian 2 — Branden Osborn had 22 kills, five digs and two aces, and Trevor Long had 11 kills, three blocks and two digs for the Heralds (13-11, 3-3) in a 25-14, 29-31, 25-23, 21-25, 15-9 Olympic League match. Whittier Christian’s Justin Osborn had four kills, two blocks, two digs and 29 assists.
California starting pitcher Daniel Alvarez throws against La Serna in the second inning of a prep baseball game at California High School in Whittier , Calif., Wednesday, April 22, 2015. California won 10-4. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)
By Stephen Ramirez
WHITTIER — There hasn’t been a better pitcher in the Del Rio League over the previous two seasons than California’s Daniel Alvarez.
The senior is the league’s two-time reigning Pitcher of the Year, and played a key role in the Condors advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 quarterfinals last season.
But with success comes expectations, and that’s been Alvarez’s biggest task this spring as he hopes to lead California to another Del Rio League title and another solid run in the postseason.
“He’s doing a good job,” California coach Tony Nieto said. “It’s definitely a challenge every year, because he’s been pitcher of the year two years in a row.
“You can say he has a target on his back, with all the teams wanting to put a notch on their belt, in terms of ‘we got Alvarez.’ But it’s never easy. We’re trying to win ball games and he gives us the best chance. He’s doing a phenomenal job, and we expect a good run from him (the rest of the season), and hopefully an extended run in the playoffs.”
Alvarez has lived up to those expectations. He’s again been arguably the top pitcher in the area. He’s 6-2 and ranks among area leaders with a 1.08 earned run average. He also has 72 strikeouts in 51 innings.
But the senior believes he could have done better earlier, and he’s hoping to pick it up during the final stretch of the season.
“I don’t think I’ve thrown to my ability yet,” said Alvarez, who was 9-3 with a 0.99 ERA last season and 5-1 with a 1.53 ERA in 2013. “It’s been tough living up to the hype. A lot of people know who I am, and I’m trying to not beat myself.”
For the most part, he hasn’t. In his 11 starts, he’s only given up two earned runs or more twice. He has a shutout against Whittier on March 20 and allowed one hit in six innings against the Cardinals on April 15. Both Condor wins.
“He’s tough, he’s tough,” Whittier coach Eric Ramirez said of Alvarez. “He can throw any pitch over the plate at anytime. To me, that’s what a good pitcher does.
“He keeps you off balance. He’s tough to hit. He’s done that for three years. It’s not a fluke, obviously. He’s one of those guys you think you should be able to hit him, but you can’t. He’s had a great career.“
Another part of Alvarez’s strength is that he’s rarely fazed. He was sluggish in a start vs. rival La Serna earlier this week, giving up four runs and seven hits during the first three innings. But he finished strong, giving up just two hits over the final four innings to help the Condors score a key 10-4 victory in their chase for back-to-back league titles.
He feels his best efforts of the season are ahead of him.
“I feel I’m coming back,” Alvarez said. “I just come play my game and do the best I can do.”