News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

Lions Scratch Out Victory at La Puente

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El Monte, La Puente

The La Puente Warriors (11-3) gave a very good performance in the first round playoff game against the El Monte Lions (10-5). They played well defensively, they had the advantage in hits, and starting pitcher Edwin Etcheberry threw a gem of a game, striking out nine, walking three, and only giving up three hits.

But they forgot one of the most important pieces to the game: scoring.

La Puente had plenty of chances to score, but failed to cash in. The Warriors had five hits and left a total of 10 runners on base, five of those runners being in scoring position. Two of those runners in scoring position were left on third after two questionable decisions by the third base coach to hold the runner coming from second.

On the other hand, El Monte only had two players reach scoring position all game. None of their players made it to third base. Their only run of the game came in the top of the 4th inning off a potential double-play ball. Shortstop Joshua Morales hit a grounder to third base, the ball was thrown to second for one out, and the throw to first was way out of the first baseman’s reach. Catcher Juan Amaya crossed home plate on the error to make the game 1-0 and the score did not change for the remainder of the ball game.

Lions’ starting pitcher Johnny Alvarez held his own on the mound after a shaky start. He allowed zero runs off of five hits, four strikeouts and four walks. While he worked his way out of a few jams, his teammates on the defensive unit played a solid game. According to manager Steven Urena, repetition in practice is the key to a solid defensive performance.

“We take a lot of ground balls during the week, we work really hard, and I told these guys every rep counts in practice, so when you get to the game, it’s easy,” Urena said. “It’s just what we do; we make plays.”

Urena gave credit to Etcheberry for throwing a great game, but credited his team in the end as the ones that stayed persistent and kept chipping away at the Warriors’ defense.

“You put pressure on defenses and eventually, that’s what happens-they’re going to give you a run,” Urena said.

The Lions look to build off this game as they advance to the second round of the playoffs and prepare for Village Christian this Tuesday.

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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
Lions Scratch Out Victory at La Puente