Baseball: Alonzo Garcia, San Fernando win showdown with Kennedy
When the pressure rises and fans start to get riled up and make noise, that’s when junior pitcher Alonzo Garcia of San Fernando enters the calm zone.
“I just go out there, take a deep breath and when the pressure hits, I sit back and throw a strike,” Garcia said.
Granada Hills Kennedy tried to get Garcia to crack on Wednesday in the seventh inning. The Golden Cougars had the tying run on third base with one out. But he struck out the next two batters to preserve a 2-1 victory in the first of a two-game Valley Mission League series to decide first place.
“He’s a gamer. Nothing fazes him,” San Fernando Coach Armando Gomez said.
Garcia struck out three, walked one and allowed four hits to raise his season record to 6-1. He’s 18-2 over the last two seasons. He’s also just 17 years old, has a 3.8 grade-point average and teammates trust him.
“He has so much confidence,” catcher Jose Haros said.
San Fernando (15-2, 3-0) and Kennedy (6-10, 2-1) each knew runs would be hard to come by. Besides Garcia, Kennedy’s Moises Ceja came in with a 3-0 record and 0.54 ERA. He ended up allowing four hits while striking out five.
San Fernando was able to break through in the third inning, getting consecutive singles from Julio Arias, Haros and Ariel Torres, then pushing across two runs on a passed ball and bases loaded walk.
Garcia didn’t start well, hitting two batters and walking one in the first three innings. But he twice threw out runners at second on bunts and then started to cruise through the Golden Cougars’ lineup, getting stronger each inning.
-- Eric Sondheimer