Vaqueros Clip Eagles on Stengel Field

Kathy Bakowicz

FEEL THE LOVE: Vaqueros’ pitcher Angel Rodriguez looks on as head coach Chris Cicuto hugs catcher Chris Whitmer.

Sal Polcino, Staff Writer

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The Vaqueros clinched its third straight WSCS division championship April 23 and advanced to the upcoming state playoffs by defeating the Los Angeles Mission College Eagles 4-1 at Stengel Field.

The team raced onto the field to celebrate after the final out in the top of the ninth inning and piled up on the first base-line before dousing head coach Chris Cicuto with five gallons of ice water.

Smiling widely, Angel Rodriguez, who pitched all nine innings, said, “I’ll be honest. I’m exhausted, but I feel pretty good.”

“I couldn’t have done this by myself,” Rodriguez said. “I am so glad my coaches and teammates have faith in me.”

Mission College had broken the Vaqueros winning streak the previous week, but the Vaqs came back strong.

The first inning was a quick three outs for Rodriguez. The Vaqueros threatened as two players took bases on walks, but the inning closed with no score.

Another empty start for the Eagles in the top of the second opened the field for GCC’s strongest showing of the game. With one out, the Eagles’ pitcher Ryne Kahikina walked Vaqueros’ Edgar Montes and Pepe Marquez, which set up the first score on a hit by Jay Sheeley. With two on base, outfielder Justin Jones hit a little looper over the shortstop to score two more runs making it a 3-0 inning.

At the top of third, Eagles’ Josh Kenedy (CQ) walked and a sacrifice bunt by Harry Bennett put the Eagles in position to score their first and only run of the game on a double by Spencer Daniels. The Vaqueros defense held the Eagles to one run.

In the top of the fourth the Eagles threatened again, but Justin Sheehan went down for a third out on an attempted steal.

Both teams failed to produce in the fifth inning and in the bottom of the sixth, the Vaqueros’ Julian Jarrard smacked one to the fence for a double, but was left stranded after Montes went down swinging.

The eighth inning was interrupted by a strange visitor on the field. Someone spotted a 3-foot long snake at shortstop. Between innings a few of the Vaqueros chased the snake around left field until it was finally taken out of play with a shovel.

The Vaqueros scored once more in the eighth as Oscar Tinjaca reached home on an error.

GCC improved its record to 24-10 overall and 18-4 in conference, which insured the division championship with two games remaining in the regular season.

The Vaqueros will host Grossmont in the So Cal Regionals Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. and then at 3 p.m. if a third game is needed in a best of three series starting at Stengel Field.

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