Baseball plays catch up, takes 2 out of 3 from Vikings


Mark Pena lines a base hit up the middle into center field. Pena went 2-for-5 with an RBI in game one. Photo credit: Taylor Ogata

Taylor Ogata

If you fall into a hole, there is always a chance that you will get out, depending on how deep it is.

For the Cerritos College baseball team, those holes were not very deep at all as it managed to climb out of them and come from behind to win the first two games against the Long Beach City College Vikings before losing a hard-fought, back and forth third game in 10 innings.

Game one at Joe Hicks Memorial Field in Long Beach got off to a slow start as the Vikings got three runs right away in the bottom of the first.

However, a costly Long Beach error allowed the Falcons to get on the board in the top of the third.

The game moved along until the top of the seventh when Daniel Lopez cut the lead to one run with a double down the left field line to knock in Kenton McDonald.

Mark Pena then drove him in with a single up the middle to tie the game at three and then advanced to second on a throwing error by the Viking center fielder Tai Tiedemann.

The half inning was capped by Fermin Beza’s two-run single to give Cerritos a 5-3 lead.

In the bottom of the inning however, Long Beach tied it back up again with two more runs.

But in the top of the eighth, Lopez put the Falcons back in front with a single to left field.

A sacrifice fly by Mike Heenan capped the scoring and Cerritos won 7-5.

The Vikings were the first to jump out of the gates again in game two at Kincaid Field on Thursday, April 14.

Long Beach scored three runs in the first three innings, the first coming on a wild pitch by Sean Kinnicutt, who only lasted 2.2 innings before being replaced by Jacob Carter.

Carter did not allow a single run in the five innings he pitched while Cerritos did not allow a single run after the third inning.

“I was very confident. I didn’t think about my mechanics and we all just played together as a team and that’s how we were able to come from behind,” Carter said.

Beza and Pena each drove in and scored two runs, starting with Beza’s fourth inning double to score Pena and get the Falcons on the board and later, he got a base hit to knock Pena in again to give Cerritos a 6-3 lead after Pena broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh.

“[My teammates] and I just hit the ball hard, mostly line drives and ground balls, and we just stuck to our game plan,” Beza said. “Our hard work in practice really paid off and just like Tuesday, we came from behind again.”

Later in the inning, Beza scored on a throwing error by Long Beach’s left-fielder Tristin Chamberlain after Derrick Edwards got a base knock to score Gary James and advanced to second on Chamberlain’s error.

“I spent a lot of time in the [batting] cage as have my teammates and when we play together as a team, we always find ways to come from behind and win,” Pena said.

With the Falcons already having locked up the series win, the two teams met for the third and final time on Saturday, April 16 at Joe Hicks Field with Cerritos on the verge of its second consecutive series sweep.

Just like in the first two games, Long Beach drew blood first with three runs in the first inning.

In the top of the second, Edwards blasted a two-run home run to left field to draw the Falcons within a run.

Edwards said, “[The pitcher] left a fastball out over the plate and it was in a good spot where I get a lot of hits and I was able to get it over the fence.

“We did a good job getting runners on base, but [Long Beach] just played better than we did today,” he added.

Lopez led Cerritos with five RBIs starting with his bases-clearing double in the top of the fourth to put the Falcons on top 5-4.

In the top of eighth, with the Vikings ahead 7-6, he looped a single through the gap in left field to drive in two more to give Cerritos the lead for the second time.

Lopez said, “Everyone, especially me, did a great job of bringing runners in to score. We gave it our best effort, but we ran out of gas.

“If we’re going to beat El Camino, we have to stay focused, and come back on Monday and work hard in practice,” he added.

The game was a seesaw affair all day long, but in the bottom of the tenth, with the game tied at nine, a sacrifice fly by Sean Williams gave Long Beach the win and denied the Falcons of the series sweep.

With the series victory, Cerritos is 19-11 overall and 11-4 in South Coast Conference play.

A series with El Camino College is on deck for the Falcons, the first game is on Tuesday, April 19 at 2:30 p.m.