The Lancers suffered two bruising losses in their 3-game series against the East Los Angeles Huskies, endangering their first place position in the South Coast Conference North Division.
In the series opener on April 3 at home, superior pitching culminated in a Huskies’ 5-3 win. Errors further hindered the Lancers chances at winning, particularly when shortstop Ryan Lewis botched a potential double play that led to a 2-RBI single in the sixth inning.
The Lancers fared better on the road, where in the following game they scored reliably throughout the innings and recovered from 6-3 and 7-5 deficits. Wild pitches and numerous walks from Huskies’ relievers led to four Lancer runs in the sixth inning. In the end, Lancers beat the Huskies, 9-7.
Unfortunately, the energy that carried the Lancers to their victory at East Los Angeles did not carry over when they returned to the home diamond. Early spotty pitching put the Lancers in a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. The team swapped through five pitchers in almost as many innings. Matt Orozco performed the best and spent the most time on the mound, pitching for three innings and permitting no hits and no runs – a performance still marred by hitting two batters.
Lancers offense was neutralized by the stellar pitching of Husky pitcher Steven Villagran, who struck out five and allowed just five hits and one earned run over eight innings. Huskies’ right fielder Ruben Hernandez stopped a potential late game Lancers rally by deftly tossing a throw to second that forced the runner out in the eighth inning. The last minute momentum was dashed, and the remaining innings were uneventful.
Lancers were afforded just 19 hits combined over the three contests. ELAC’s skill did not go unnoticed by the Lancers head coach, Pat McGee.
“They did a good job. They pitched really well. Probably the first time this year that we’ve been out-pitched, out-hit. They played better defense,” said McGee. “They deserve to win.”
“They earned these victories. We didn’t give them away,” he added. “They beat us.”
The lack of consistency and energy were contributing factors noted by the players.
“I feel we came out a little more flop than we did in the past game,” said third baseman, Marco Martinez. “We could have come out with more energy. Did well offensively, but defensively we kind of struggle with our approaches.”
“We were in it throughout the whole game,” said pitcher Matt Orozco, comparing the team’s performance to their prior win. “This one we kind of picked up too late.”
The Lancers maintain a one-half game lead over the Mt. SAC Mounties and a one game lead ahead of the third place Chaffey Panthers, the former of whom they will face in a three game series starting on April 9 at Mt. San Antonio.