TORRANCE, Calif. - After inconceivably blowing a 6-3 lead in the Top of the 9th inning vs No.11 Cypress, Spencer Long was able to shake it off and play the hero by launching a two run walk-off home run over the left field fence to secure an 8-7 win over Cypress College and advance the No.2 Warriors to the CCCAA Southern California Sectionals.
The stage was set for a comfortable 6-3 win for the Warriors (36-7) heading to the 9th inning with 8, 9, and 1 spot batters coming up for the Chargers (30-15). However, the Chargers fired off two consecutive triples to center field to cut the lead to 6-4. Long was able to strike out Matt Kirk for the first out but Mariano Ricciardi hit a base hit up the middle to make it a 6-5 game. Isaiah Stewart hit the third triple of the inning to CF to tie the game at 6-6 with one out. Long balked the go-ahead run for the Chargers to hand them an improbable 7-6 lead. The Chargers got one more runner before the inning ended all the way to third base before Long was able to battle back with a strikeout on a pinch hitter.
Spencer Palmer led the bottom of the 9th inning off by flying out to left field. Palmer almost had a double down the right field line but it was judged foul by the field umpire. In the next at-bat, Joseph Borges had a base hit through the right side to give the Warriors hope. The stage was then set for Long's heroics. Long battled back from a 1-2 count to get it to a full count. On pitch 106 from Cristian Lopez, Spencer Long launched a two-run blast over the LF fence to walk it off for the Warriors.
Max Pappas tossed a quality start and went six innings giving up 3 runs (two earned) on five hits, one walk, and fanned eight batters. Spencer Long got the win after tossing three innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, one walk, and striking out five batters. Adrian Chaidez drew the start for the Chargers and was pulled in the fourth inning. Chaidez gave up two runs on five hits, one walk, and struck out four batters. Cristian Lopez suffered the loss after giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits, two walks, and striking out six batters.
Cypress took the first lead of the game in the third inning after capitalizing on two Warrior errors. A failed pick-off attempt put a runner on second base. A throwing error by Taishi Nakawake on a ground ball scored the runner from second to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead.
Cypress scored two runs in the Top of the 5th inning. Rafael Flores and Bobby Silvis led the inning off with back to back hits to put runners on second and third. They scored one run on a RBI groundout and another run on a wild pitch to make it a 3-2 game for Cypress.
El Camino once again responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half. Jerry Granillo led the inning off with a walk and Cypress had a tailor-made double play but the shortstop didn't catch the ball on a throw from the second basemen to give the Warriors runners on 1st and 2nd. Joseph Borges singled to score Granillo. Long grounded out to score Palmer. And Ty Conrad singled to center field to score Borges to make it a 5-3 lead.
The Warriors will now head to the Sectionals for the third season in a row, but it's the first time they're hosting and not facing Orange Coast College. The Warriors will host the No.4 Glendale College for the CCCAA Baseball Southern California Sectionals. The best-of-three series will be from Friday, May 17th to Sunday, May 19th.