Cries of elation from the LA Valley dugout Monday echoed off the bleachers of Jackie Robinson Memorial Field as a Lancers error at first added 2 easy runs in the first inning, gifting the Lions a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
LA Valley scored 4 runs by the end of the inning, setting up a comfortable lead against PCC. The Lancers would make up some ground but were always one step behind. PCC dropped the game 8-4.
The first inning error clearly left a mark.
“The first baseman Jason Ajamian not catching the ball, that lead to 3 runs…that set the tone for the game,” Head Coach Pat McGee said. “It’s a rather easy play and he just straight dropped it.”
Jason Ajamian, a first baseman for the Lancers has had a remarkable season, recently taking the torch at first base from prior starter, Daniel Netz, who now sees mixed time at first and in right field. Ajamian is 2nd amongst the Lancers in putouts despite having only played in 18 games, considerably less than PCC’s consistent fielders.. He commented on his rare drop.
“[They] threw it to me and I turned my glove the wrong way, and it hit the heel [of the glove]] and bounced away…both those runs scored,” Ajamian said. “Four runs in the first inning, that kind of sways the momentum of the game.”
Ajamian’s mistake was not deserving of the full blame for the loss according to McGee.
“We gave some other guys opportunities today that [weren’t] starters, and they showed why they’re not,” McGee said. “That started with the pitching staff in the first inning and then the guys on defense didn’t do a good job of supporting.”
A visually and statistically lackluster pitching performance in the first third of Monday’s game resulted in several walks, easy bases for the Lions. The Lions also contrasted with the Lancers inability to get runners on base. PCC rarely got past first base while LA Valley out runners in scoring position in most of the innings.
McGee did leave praise for the ninth inning pitcher and everyday catcher Matt Orozco, whose command on the mound was too little too late for the Lancers. Orozco is also the only fielder to top Ajamian in putouts, with a staggering 159 on the year.
Regardless, consensus amongst most Lancers players as well as their head coach was that PCC did not display enough competitive spirit or energy to combat the barrage from their opponents.
“It felt like people just showed up and really didn’t want to play today,” Jose Jimenez, the Lancers’ shortstop, said.
Perhaps their low energy level could be due to the number of games they’ve had to play since Monday last week, a total of six games. First they had a slight win against Compton, but afterwards had three games against Mt. San Antonio, winning one narrowly while losing the other two in shutout fashion
PCC dropped another game 5-2 on Tuesday at Ventura. The Lancers look to rebound at home Wednesday against Citrus at 2:30pm.