Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Eagles put winning pieces together

    Eagles put winning pieces together

    by Eva Hannan

    “It was kind of a chess match,” says Francisco Zapata, head coach of the Laney Eagles baseball team, about their 7–4 home victory on Jan. 20 against City College of San Francisco. “We have a deep roster, and I think that roster can be a strength for us.” The Eagles certainly showed off many strengths Saturday evening.

    The team got through tough situations with excellent pitching, clutch hitting, and great defense. Shortstop Ryan Jenkins walked to start the Eagles’ half of the first inning, and Falcon Magaña tripled him home, giving Laney a 1–0 lead. Kevin Whitaker then extended their lead to 2–0 with a bloop single to left. This early lead was short-lived, however. CCSF managed to score three runs in the top half of the second to take a 3–2 lead. Of those runs, only one was earned.

    Laney starter Robert Busch was the winning pitcher in the game. He completed five innings of work with four strikeouts and two walks, and allowed only two earned runs.

    The Eagles’ offense, meanwhile, was scoring runs left and right. In the third inning, Whitaker singled and stole second base before he took third base on a wild pitch by CCSF starter Marcel Gallegos.

    After walking the next two batters he faced, the bases were loaded with none out. CCSF Head Coach, Mario Mendoza, decided to put in the right-handed pitcher Jordan Montoya. He quickly got two outs and it seemed that the visiting team might get through the inning without allowing any runs.

    But it all fell apart for Montoya, Laney’s next batter was the right-handed hitter Cassian Castillo. He ripped a triple through the gap in center field, scoring three runs and giving Laney a 5–3 lead.

    “He did save that inning,” Zapata said, “it’s playing match-up and you can work that towards your advantage.”

    Laney’s Sammy Esparza and Jesus Manzo also got RBI hits against Montoya, who pitched the rest of the game for CCSF. The losing pitcher was their starter, Marcel Gallegos.

    Although no one scored past the fifth inning, the rest of the game was captivating and tense with lots of deep counts, close plays, and impressive defense on both sides. It seemed as though the score might change at any moment, but the Eagle’s bullpen worked through every tough situation.

    The combination of relievers McGrane Pledger and Galen Manhard kept CCSF scoreless through the eighth inning, but it didn’t come easy. “There was immense pressure, for Manhard especially,” Zapata said.

    Manhard had come into the game in the eighth with two runners already on and only one out. He got through the inning without allowing a run to score. Whitaker, who started the game in center field, closed out the game on the mound for Laney. His fastball can travel upwards of 88 mph. He quickly induced three poorly hit grounders to second.

    Laney’s second baseman for the game, Castillo, handled the tricky hops cleanly and got the CCSF runners out with a quick throw to first base each time for the final three outs.

    Laney currently has a 1–2 won-lost record, having lost to Reedley College 5–2 in the season opener at home on Jan. 26. After defeating CCSF 7–4 on Jan. 20, the visiting Eagles lost 9–6 to the Rams in Pacifica on Jan. 30.

    Eva Hannan is a Tower staff writer.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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