Not wanting to wait until the final few innings to turn on their offensive attack, the Cerritos College baseball team took an early 4-0 lead on their way to a 9-4 Southern California Regional Playoff win over visiting Los Angeles Pierce College on Saturday. The Falcons (31-11), seeded #1 for the playoffs, swept the three-game series with the Brahmas (21-19), and have advanced to the Super Regionals next weekend at Kincaid Field. It's the first playoff series win for Cerritos since 2011.
Cerritos will be hosting South Coast Conference rival El Camino College in the Super Regional next weekend, with Game 1 scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Friday. The Falcons defeated the Warriors in two of their there games this season. Tickets for the games are $12 for General Admission and $8 for staff and students with ID, seniors over 60 and children 12 and under.
Batting first as the visiting team in the game, the Falcons scored twice in the top of the first inning and then added two more in the third inning. The game started with sophomore third baseman Jorge Rodriguez (Bellflower HS) driving a double over the head of LA Pierce centerfielder Mike Scolaro. A base hit by sophomore shortstop Ramon Bramasco (Cathedral HS) advanced Rodriguez to third base, where he scored on a wild pitch. With two outs, freshman catcher Andre Alvarez (Walnut HS) singled up the middle to bring home Bramasco.
Sophomore outfielder Rollie Nichols (Serra HS) and Bramasco led off the third inning with consecutive base hits, while a sacrifice bunt from sophomore second baseman Jesus Mercado (St. John Bosco HS) advanced the runners. Alvarez drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly, with the second run coming home when a slicing fly ball from freshman first baseman Michael Gonzalez (St. Bernard HS) was dropped by Scolaro.
Getting the call on the mound was sophomore Micah Hee (Kamehameha, HI HS), who mowed down the Brahmas in the first inning with three strikeouts. He received a great defensive play in the second inning to keep LA Pierce off the board when a relay throw from Nichols was cut off by Mercado, who threw a strike to Alvarez at the plate, where he cut down Bryce Vitt trying to score on a base hit. The Brahmas got on the board with single runs in the third and then again in the fifth inning to get to within 4-2. Hee helped his cause when he was able to field a bunt and flip the ball with his glove to Alvarez to get Nick Pico at the plate trying to score on a sacrifice bunt in the third inning.
Cerritos added a run in the top of the sixth inning on a dropped fly ball by Diego Harris in right field that allowed sophomore designated hitter Jakob Gonzalez (La Mirada HS/San Jose State University) to score with two outs. Bramasco committed a throwing error in the bottom of the inning, which opened the door for a single and hit batter to load the bases with two outs. Sophomore Vincent Fuentes (El Rancho HS) came on in relief and hit Nick Pico with his first pitch, which forced in a run.
It was a 5-4 game when LA Pierce scored a single run for the third inning in a row. Heading into the eighth inning, the Falcons put some distance between themselves and the Brahmas with a three-run inning. A one-out double by freshman outfielder Gabriel Gonzalez (Santa Fe HS) was followed by a single from sophomore outfielder Nick Penzetta (Kamehameha, HI HS). Jakob Gonzalez drove in a run with a base hit before Rodriguez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Nichols drew a four-pitch walk to bring in the second run, while a wild pitch allowed the third run to score. Gabriel Gonzalez hit a two-out triple in the ninth inning, with Jakob Gonzalez collecting his third hit in a row with an RBI single to close out the scoring.
Sophomore closer Edgar Velasquez (Montebello HS) pitched the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the year, with Hee improving to 4-2 with his 5 2/3 innings. Rodriguez, Bramasco and Gabriel Gonzalez also had multiple-hit games.
Photos by Daryl Peterson