By Bonta Hill
After splitting games with Mission High School last week, Jordan had hope and confidence that it would be able to clinch the school’s first-ever playoff berth by winning Monday’s Academic Athletic Association play-in game at Jackson Playground.
However, the Jaguars couldn’t overcome errors or get the big hit, as the Bears took full advantage of Jordan’s miscues and rolled to a 15-3 victory in five innings, as the game was called due to the mercy rule. The two teams finished tied for the second and final playoff spot in the AAA’s B Division, forcing the play-in game.
The Bears (9-11-1, 7-8-1) broke the game open with a six-run third inning that gave them an 8-0 lead en route to clinching the playoff spot and setting up a game against Balboa Tuesday.
“It’s a tribute to our guys who have been conditioning since November, and I’m really, really proud of these guys,” said Mission head coach Dan Grossman. “They’re a committed bunch and stuck it out, and I’m proud of this bunch.”
The runs were more than enough for Mission starting pitcher Steven Zhuo, who got over the early nerves to go the distance for the Bears.
After a rocky first inning saw Zhuo hit three of the first four Jordan batters, he settled in, striking out eight batters and allowing just three hits.
“Steven came out a little jittery, was trying to find his control and hit a few batters, but he showed guts,” Grossman said. “Getting the runs early helped his confidence. He settled down and had his fastball going for him.”
Jordan (6-9-1 in AAA play) had a chance to break through against Zhou in the first, but it left the bases loaded after Jose Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice and catcher Paul Aumoeualogo flied out to center to end the inning.
That was as close as the Jaguars would get, as they couldn’t mount any serious threats the rest of the way.
“It came down to hitting and execution, and we didn’t do it when we needed to,” Jordan coach Rich Filer-Gamble said. “We can’t give away outs and chances, and when we do that, it comes back to bite us.”
Jordan has made great strides in the past two seasons under the coaching of Filer-Gamble, and although there was frustration on the Jaguars faces, Filer-Gamble was still proud of the way his team worked this season.
“We had a chance to make the playoffs last year as well, but we fell short,” Filer-Gamble said. “We lost today, but it’s still a good thing for the school. Everyone will start to take this school a little bit more seriously. These kids worked really hard and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
M – Steven Zhou singles, Francisco Chinn scores
M – David Johnson scores on wild pitch
M – Edgar Linares doubles, Johnson scores
M – Auturo Franquez doubles, Linares and Enrique Garza score
M – Chinn singles, Gilberto Mejia scores
M – Jonathon Aleman and Chinn score on a throwing error
J – Paul Aumoeualogo singles, Alex Banks and Fletcher Bagden score
M – John David Perkins grounds out, Nelson Martinez scores
M – Chinn grounds out, Mejia scores
M – Zhuo singles, Chinn scores on throwing error
J – Nick Juarez doubles, David Bruce scores
M – Aleman singles to left, Linares scores
M – Franquez grounds out, Garza scores
M – Martinez and Curtis Burns score on wild pitch