Walk off homer starts win streak for CHS baseball
With one pitch and one swing of the bat, everything changed for Claremont High School baseball last Thursday at CHS.
The Pack had not won a league game all season, and it looked like they would be losing another to first place Glendora, when senior Matt Ramirez stepped up to the plate.
It was the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, and Claremont trailed 3-1. Jake Holcroft led off the seventh with a fly out, followed by a walk for Luke Santia. Next up was Rylan Opatkiewicz who also flied out. But with two outs, Jonah Paez worked the pitch count for another walk, adding a second base runner.
So up to the plate came Ramirez, who worked to a full count when Glendora sophomore Jacob Gonzalez threw a fastball deemed “a little low,” according to Ramirez. But his quick bat made solid contact and hit a walk off three-run homer over the left field fence, securing a 4-3 Claremont victory.
As the ball sailed through the air, it got really quiet, according to Coach Ron La Chase. “Of course, when the ball cleared the fence, everyone went wild,” he said.
“It was like a dream,” Ramirez said during practice on Monday. “What kid doesn’t dream about hitting a home run in the final inning.”
CHS principal Brett O’Connor didn’t recall a previous walk off home run in his 11 years at the school, according to Coach La Chase. Senior Andrew Beauvais earned the win, pitching all seven innings, while giving up six hits and striking out nine.
“It was huge for the program, huge for the season,” Coach La Chase said. “Still, we have to play good baseball the rest of the season.” And so far they have.
On Saturday the Pack easily defeated A.B. Miller at home, 10-3. No fewer than 10 players had hits, including Opatkiewicz, who had three, including two runs and four RBIs. Senior Brandon Frieson had two hits, with one run and an RBI.
The winning streak continued Tuesday as Claremont then defeated second place South Hills, 6-5, in Covina advancing their league record to 2-6 and 9-11 overall.
South Hills got on the board first with one run in the second inning and held that lead until the fourth, when Claremont tied. Both teams had a big sixth inning with Claremont piling on five runs followed by four from the Huskies. Both teams were blanked in the seventh, giving Claremont the win. Ramirez, Holcroft and Nate Rodriguez each had two hits, one run and one RBI.
Claremont hosted the Huskies at home after press time on Thursday. Check the COURIER website for updated sports scores and highlights.
Claremont got its first league win on Tuesday, defeating second place Bonita, 7-6, at home.
Claremont scored two runs in the second inning but Bonita answered with two on their next opportunity. The Bearcats added one more in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
After that, however, Claremont came alive, scoring one run in the sixth and four in the seventh. And, similar to the baseball game last week, Bailey Grani hit a walk off single to get the win for the Pack.
Katie Stanford had two hits with a walk and scored one run. Lani Moreno had two hits, including a double, two RBIs, and scored two runs. Hana Hashioka had two hits, one RBI, and scored one run. Jade King had two hits including a triple, and two RBIs, and Makayla Romeo and Grani each had two hits.
Katlin Entrup was the winning pitcher, striking out seven with two walks.
The Pack, 6-10-1 overall and 1-7 in league, played Ayala at home after press time on Thursday.
Track and field
CHS track is now 3-1 in dual league meets after both the boys and girls teams lost to Ayala on Monday at CHS. The Pack was hampered by injury and illness, according to Coach Veronica Amarasekara.
“We raced very well today even though we are down a few key athletes on each side,” coach Amarasekara said. “We were able to restructure and got a really good performance from subs.”
This weekend Claremont will participate in the Mt. Sac Relays, which will be held at El Camino College due to ongoing construction at Mt. San Antonio College. Claremont will have runners in the Brooks one mile and two mile, boys 4 x 400, girls and boys 4 x 800 and 4 x 1600.
Claremont’s final dual meet will be at Diamond Bar on Tuesday. Then Claremont will host league prelims on Wednesday and finals on Thursday.
Claremont girls varsity swim took second place in the Husky Invitational Tournament April 13 and 14 in Riverside. It was a very competitive meet, with 25 teams from all over southern California. The girls also won a league dual meet against Bonita on April 11.
Claremont had a dual meet against Ayala on Wednesday but results were not available at press time. Their final meet will be on Tuesday at Diamond Bar with league prelims and finals on May 1 and 2, also at Diamond Bar.
The Pack beat Diamond Ranch, 3-0, last Thursday in Pomona. The boys won the first set, 25-23, the second, 24-14, and the third, 25-21. With the win, Claremont is now 3-1 in Hacienda League and had an away game at Damien after press time on Thursday.
Claremont narrowly lost to powerhouse Diamond Bar, 203-186, on Tuesday at Diamond Bar Golf Course. The Pack had a rematch with the Brahmas on Thursday at Marshall Canyon. The boys final two league matches will be against Bonita next week.