Cypress College baseball team defeats Warriors and forces decisive Game 3


El Camino Warriors players watch Cypress Chargers catcher Eric Bigani up at the plate during Game 2 of their playoff series on Friday, May 10. The Chargers forced Game 3 for Saturday, May 11. Photo credit: Mari Inagaki

Until the seventh inning of the game, a pitcher’s duel left Game 2 of a three-game postseason series between the El Camino Warriors and Cypress Chargers scoreless.

The Warriors led the series 1-0 and a Warriors win in Game 2 would mean a ticket to the next round of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) playoffs.

With two runners on first and third with one out, Chargers catcher Eric Bigani bunted the ball down the first base line. Diaz went to field it but misplayed it, and the runner on third scored and Bigani was safe at first.

With the score 1-0 Chargers in the bottom of the eighth and one out and a runner on first, Chargers third baseman Rafael Flores hit a deep line drive to center which drove in another run, making the score 2-0 for the Chargers.

The Warriors’ last chance to rally from behind came in the ninth inning. Warriors first baseman Spencer Palmer started the inning by getting to second off a throwing error to first by the Chargers.

Then Joseph Borges, center fielder, hit a grounder to the shortstop but it was a tough play and Borges was able to beat it out and was safe at first.

Second basemen Spencer Palmer tried to bunt but the Chargers were ready. Palmer was thrown out at third.

Warriors left fielder Ty Conrad hit a groundball into right field and Borges was able to score, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

Taishi Nakwake
El Camino Warriors shortstop Taishi Nakawake hits a single against the Cypress Chargers during Game 2 of their playoff series Friday, May 10, at Warrior Field. Nakawake had one hit in two at-bats. Photo credit: Kealoha Noguchi

The Chargers brought in pitcher Cristian Lopez to close down the game. The next batter was Warriors pitcher Aaron Orozco, who hit a flyball to right field which was caught for an out. Long was running to third, so the Chargers threw the ball to second for the third and final out of the game.

Warriors coach Nate Fernley wants the team to forget about the game and get ready for Game 3.

“We need to forget the game,” said Fernley. “You live for Game 3’s. This one was tough to swallow but [we’ll] get ready for the next game.”

Orozco went six innings with six strikeouts, five strikeouts, and didn’t give up a run. Warriors coach Nick Jones was concerned about the pitch count and didn’t want him to hurt his arm.

“Pitch count for [Orozco] was too high and as much as you want him out there, arm safety comes first,” said Jones.

Orozco understood why he was pulled out of the game after six innings.

“I didn’t find it a big deal, I gave the team a good six innings,” Orozco said.

Orozco found himself in some trouble a few times during the game, which caused his pitch count to be higher.

“I try hard to not let them score. My adrenaline kicks in and helps me get outs,” Orozco said.

Fernley recognized that the offense struggled but knew the opposing pitcher was pitching well.

“The other pitcher was good today, he mixed it up well but we could have played better,” Fernley said. “Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the pitcher.”

Jones doesn’t want to change much for Game 3.

“You don’t want to change too much, stick to the process and come out and play hard,” Jones said.

Game 3 between the Warriors and the Chargers is at Warrior Field on Saturday, May 11. The winner will move on to play in the Southern California Sectionals of the 2019 CCCAA baseball playoffs.

Update: May 13, 2019 9:03 a.m. A typo in Joseph Borges’ name was corrected.