TORRANCE, Calif. – Returning to the baseball field after the tragic loss of freshman catcher Sladen Mohl, the El Camino College baseball honored their fallen teammate and brother with an incredible walk-off victory over L.A. Harbor in a South Coast Conference contest Tuesday afternoon at Warrior Field.
Shortstop Taishi Nakawake stepped up to the plate with the game knotted at 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth and unloaded on a 3-2 pitch from Seahawks closer Jake McKenna, sending it well past the left-field wall for a walk-off home run, his first round tripper of the season.
Warriors with the walk off win for Sladen!!!! pic.twitter.com/bXh25PP4Ra— ECCbaseball (@elcobaseball) April 24, 2019
The victory came after the Warriors came up empty offensively through the first seven innings of the game. The team trailed by a run since the fourth inning when the Seahawks (13-23-1, 7-12-1) scored their lone run of the game off Warriors' (30-6, 15-5) starter Aaron Orozco.
Orozco was magnificent on the mount, tossing a complete-game to earn his 10th victory of the season. He allowed one run on just five hits, walked one and struck out eight. After the Seahawks scored, Orozco proceeded to retire 13 straight batters before Eric Alamillo snapped the streak with a leadoff single in the ninth inning.
The ninth also marked the last bit of trouble Orozco had to deal with as an error at first base by Spencer Palmer put runners on second and third with two outs and the score tied at 1-1. But the Warriors right-hander got Isaiah Bumgarner to fly out to right to end the threat and give the Warriors the chance to score the walk-off victory.
Before the ninth-inning dramatics, the Warriors tied things up in the eighth after Logan Young led off with a double to the gap in left-center field. That marked the end of the line for starting pitcher Arturo Alvarez, who was solid in his start for L.A. Harbor.
McKenna came in to pitch in relief and promptly walked Palmer to put two men on with no outs. Joseph Borges then advanced Young to third on a flyout to center field. Spencer Long would then cash in Young with a single to center to knot things up at 1-1. The Warriors would load the bases in the inning but could not scratch across another run against McKenna.
Alvarez would draw a no-decision after going seven innings and allowing one run on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts. McKenna suffered his first loss of the year, going 1 and 1/3 innings and allowing one run on two hits, two walks with two strikeouts.
With the victory, the Warriors remain one game behind first-place Long Beach in the South Coast Conference, South Division with two games left in the season.The Vikings defeated Compton, 9-3, on Tuesday.
The Warriors and Seahawks will meet again on Thursday at L.A. Harbor. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.
On Thursday, April 18, El Camino College student and baseball team member Sladen John Mohl was killed in a traffic accident involving three cars Thursday evening in Torrance. Sladen was a pedestrian and died at the scene.
El Camino College baseball head coach Nate Fernley has started the "Sladen Mohl Memorial Fund" to aid Sladen's family in covering upcoming costs and arrangements.
"Sladen Mohl was a beloved friend, son, family member and teammate to many people across the country. Sladen left us far too early, but has left a life-long impact on every individual that he has come in contact with. We are raising funds to help support his loving family with the upcoming costs and arrangements. Sladen was from Alaska so we would like to bring him home. All donations will be going directly to Sladen's mother for the expenses."
Donations can be made by following this link: https://www.gofundme.com/sladen-mohl-memorial-fund