DEL RIO LEAGUE
WHITTIER 2, SANTA FE 1
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Whittier High School could have pouted after losing to Santa Fe on Wednesday.
Instead, the Cardinals got mad, and they are back in the Del Rio League baseball race because of it.
Nick Viramontes and AJ Esquivel combined on a five-hitter Friday and Whittier pulled into a first-place tie with the Chiefs and California with a 2-1 victory at Santa Fe High School.
Christian Soto had two hits for the Cardinals, who improved to 11-15 overall and 7-4 in league play. Santa Fe slipped to 12-13 and 7-4. California, which beat La Serna, 1-0, on a shutout with nine strikeouts by Jakob Farmer, is 13-9 and 7-4.
The three have completed their season series against each other.
Whittier earned it’s spot after rebounding from a 9-1 setback to Santa Fe on Wednesday.
Santa Fe was denied Friday after loading the bases twice with less than two outs during the final three innings, including in the seventh.
But Esquivel, who gave up a pop single after replacing Viramontes with one out and runners on first and second in the seventh, saved the day. He struck out Luis Aguilar before inducing Robert Lucia to ground out to first get the victory.
Whittier coach Eric Ramirez: “I told the players the other day that you can get as much out of a loss as you can out of a win. At 9-1, we got a lot out of that loss. I told them see what champions do when they lose, and today we came up with some huge plays. It was a huge response for that.”
Whittier reliever: AJ Esquivel: “I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know. I was a little nervous, but I had to get those guys out.”