The ace of the Cerritos College pitching staff, Gilbert Romero, has signed a National Letter of Intent with Chico State University. He joins third baseman Jorge Rodriguez, who signed with the Wildcats, while the two will be roommates for the next two seasons.
Romero, the South Coast Conference South Division Pitcher of the Year, went 8-1 on the mound with a 1.78 ERA in 86 innings. He started in 13 of his 16 appearances and recorded 81 strikeouts and allowed just 58 hits on the season while limiting opponents to a .192 batting average. The Falcons went 10-3 in games that he started, which included a masterful complete game shutout against El Camino College, where he scattered three hits and struck out six. Romero recorded a season-high nine punchouts in 6 2/3 innings against Mt. San Jacinto College, while he had eight strikeouts in four other starts.
"I chose Chico State because I feel that they can help me further my baseball career," said Romero. "There were other schools that I considered, such as Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Monterey Bay and other D2 schools. I feel as though the strongest contribution I can make for them would be the love and passion I have for the game."
A winner in six straight starts in the latter part of the season, Romero got the call in the first game of a best-of-three Super Regional series against rival El Camino. After striking out six batters the first time through the lineup, he allowed three runs over the next two innings and came out, as the Falcons dropped the game, 6-2. The season then came to an end the following day with another loss to the Warriors.
He will have a familiar face at third base in Rodriguez, which Romero said makes the transition to a four-year school a little smoother. "It's always good to have another player with you and yeah it will make the transition easier especially because our team bond was so strong this year. The coaches at Chico State haven't exactly told me what my role would be but they told me I could be a weekend starter."
Rodriguez and Romero will be joining a Wildcats team that went 31-24 on the year and saw them qualify for the NCAA Division II Championship West Regional. Their season came to an end after losses to both Cal State Monterey Bay and Azusa Pacific University in their first two games.
But his time with the Falcons will stay with him forever. "The one thing I'll remember most is our work ethic (at Cerritos). I truly believe no other school worked as hard as we did. And being part of Coach Gaylord's final team was a real honor. I don't think there will ever be a coach like Coach Gaylord."
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