El Rancho’s Frank Vargas slides safely around the tag of Santa Fe’s Eddie Fournier during Friday’s Del Rio League game. (Keith Durflinger / Staff Photographer)
Photo gallery: El Rancho-Santa Fe baseball
By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer
PICO RIVERA – El Rancho High School did not need any late-game heroics in its Del Rio League game Friday against visiting Santa Fe.
After scoring four seventh-inning runs in a 5-2 win Wednesday at Santa Fe, the Dons took control quickly Friday and went on to defeat the Chiefs 9-1.
Senior third baseman Dylan Guzman drove in a team-high five runs to pace El Rancho. Guzman’s biggest hit was a grand-slam home run in the fourth inning, which put the game out of reach.
Senior starting pitcher Nick Vasquez was also a major contributor, throwing five scoreless innings. He allowed six hits, one walk and struck out three.
Friday’s triumph allowed the Dons (12-5 overall, 6-1 league) to keep sole possession of first place in the Del Rio.
“We’re very fortunate to have very good guys who work hard every day in practice,” El Rancho coach Frank Llanes said. “They really have each other’s backs.”
Llanes, in praising the Dons pitching, added, “This is the deepest staff we’ve had in a long time.”
He also credited the team’s defense, which includes catcher Frank Vargas, first baseman Anthony Herrera, second baseman Joe Sanchez, shortstop David Corrales and Guzman.
All of the above are seniors.
Sophomore outfielder Eli Ledesma drove in the only run for Santa Fe (6-11, 2-5).
“We ran into a buzzsaw in El Rancho,” Chiefs coach Pierre Romo said. “They are playing good ball together and they will be tough to beat down the road.”
El Rancho seized momentum instantly by scoring four runs in the bottom of the first, which started with senior outfielder-pitcher Julian Vizcarra’s infield single.
After Sanchez drew a one-out walk, junior outfielder Esteban Solis loaded the bases when he delivered a base hit to center.
The Dons then grabbed a 2-0 lead when Vargas and Guzman reached base on back-to-back walks. Vasquez followed by helping his own cause by producing a two-run single to left.
El Rancho seized control by scoring five runs in the fourth inning.
Junior infielder Steve Patino led-off the frame with a single to right and then stole second. After a walk to Corrales and Sanchez’s single loaded the bases, Solis delivered a run-scoring single to right.
A two-out walk to Vargas set the stage for Guzman, who cleared the bases with a grand-slam home run.
“We’re working hard in practice,” Guzman said. “Every day, we do our best and come game time, it’s no problem for us.”
Guzman added on his grand-slam, “The first strike I saw, I put the bat on the ball.”
The Chiefs broke El Rancho’s shutout bid in the sixth, which began with sophomore catcher Eddie Fournier’s line-drive single to right. Fournier then scored on Ledesma’s base hit to left.
Nine players produced at least a hit for El Rancho, which finished with 11.
The Dons pitching duo of Vasquez and Marcus Price held the Chiefs to eight hits, which were all singles.