Warriors Topple Cerritos to Advance to CCCAA Sectionals

Photo by Bill Hood
Photo by Bill Hood

NORWALK, Calif. – No. 11 El Camino College used a five-run fourth inning to propel past No. 1 Cerritos 7-5 to win the California Community College Baseball Southern California Super Regionals Saturday afternoon at Kincaid Field.

The Warriors (28-17) advance to the CCCAA Sectionals and will face No. 2 seed Orange Coast for the second consecutive year. The Warriors defeated the Pirates in three games last season to advance to the CCCAA State Championships.

On Saturday, the Warriors overcame a three-run deficit with a monstrous fourth inning, putting up five runs on the top seeded Falcons (31-13) to take a 6-4 lead and they never relinquished the advantage.

Jose Ruiz Jr. led the offense for ECC as he went 3-for-5 with one RBI while Diego Alarcon continued his red-hot postseason, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Spencer Palmer also went 2-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI and Cody Wissler was 1-for-2 with a walk and one RBI.

The Warriors trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the fourth when the offense erupted, ignited by the bottom of the lineup. Spencer Long singled to left to start things off and then Jerry Granillo singled to left to chase starting pitcher Valentin Flores-Gomez.

There was no in relief in sight, however, as Sean Whorley greeted the new Falcons hurler with a bunt single to load the bases.

Ruiz Jr. singled in Long to cut the deficit to 4-2 and then Granillo scored on a fielder's choice groundout. Palmer followed and singled in Whorley to tie things up and then Wissler singled to center to give ECC a 5-4 lead.

The Warriors were then gifted what would be the game-winning run as consecutive wild pitches with two outs allowed Palmer to score and make it 6-4.

While the offense was great in the fourth, reliever Max Pappas was masterful in out of the bullpen for ECC. He entered the game in the fifth inning with a run already in and the bases loaded and two outs in the frame with Nick Penzetta at the dish. Pappas locked in and struck out Penzetta swinging to end the threat and preserve the Warriors one-run lead.

The Falcons would get only two more runners into scoring position off Pappas but the right-hander shut down the Falcons, going four and 1/3 innings and allowing just two hits and two walks en route to his third win of the season.