Birmingham advances to CIF Finals with a no-hitter 5-1 victory over Palisades
The crowd at Dedeaux Field rose to their feet, as senior right-handed pitcher Daniel Flores of Birmingham was looking to send the Patriots to the CIF championship game with one last out. With 106 pitches on the day and five strikeouts, Flores went the entire afternoon without giving up a hit to the Palisades Dolphins. Palisades had a runner on first from an earlier walk, and Birmingham was able to throw the last runner out at 2nd to secure the no-hitter for Flores and the 5-1 win over Palisades in the L.A. City Section Open Division Semifinals. In a matchup between two of the top ranked teams in the city, the third-seeded Patriots won their 13th straight game on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023 over the second-seeded Dolphins, ending their 13-game winning streak and providing them their third loss on the season. Birmingham returns to the CIF L.A. City Finals a year after losing to Chatsworth in the same scenario.
Flores took the mound against senior left-handed pitcher Mason Edwards of the Dolphins, who, as a team, had only given up a total of 50 runs heading into Wednesday’s contest. Both pitchers got off to a hot start, as neither gave up any runs in the first two innings. The tide of the game changed when Birmingham got their bats going in the start of the 3rd inning, starting with back-to-back singles from senior shortstop Vince Cervantes and junior third baseman J.B. Dalumpines. Down to their last out, the Patriots got on the board with a single from junior first baseman Trevor Sostman, bringing Cervantes home. Dalumpines was later brought home from third base after a wild pitch from Edwards, giving Birmingham a 2-0 lead to close the inning.
Following another scoreless inning from Flores, Birmingham refused to let up at the plate in the top of the 4th inning. Senior outfielder Carlos Macias singled to give the Patriots their sixth hit of the day. After junior outfielder Chris Woods got on base with a walk, Dalumpines knocked in two more runs with a triple, extending the Birmingham lead to 4-0. Flores continued his dominance on the mound, striking out another batter in the bottom of the 4th inning. The Dolphins made a pitching change in the top of the 5th inning, bringing in junior John Iacono to hold the Patriots to a scoreless inning, striking out a batter in the process.
Flores did get into a jam in the bottom of the 5th inning, walking the first to runners from Palisades. Senior shortstop Wesley Wells loaded up the bases after a fielder’s choice failed to secure an out for Birmingham. The Dolphins took advantage by scoring their first and only run of the afternoon after Flores hit sophomore Noah Andrews with a pitch. He was able to calmly get out of the inning without any further damage, adding another strikeout to sustain the Patriots’ lead at 4-1.
Palisades made another pitching change in the top of the sixth inning, bringing in freshman James Levy. The young pitcher got off to a good start, holding the Patriots scoreless in the inning. However, the hot start was short lived, as Dalumpines provided another single in the top of the 7th inning. After walking another batter, Palisades brought in senior left-hander Ryan Higgins in place of Levy. The change made by the Dolphins did little to deter the discipline at the plate from the Patriots, as they walked the next two batters, bringing a runner home to extend the Birmingham lead to 5-1. Flores completed his no-hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning by adding his fifth and final strikeout to secure the Patriots’ berth in the championship game.
Flores credited his teammates for providing the run support needed to make the no-hitter possible. He stated, “I think one of the keys to this game and my success on the mound was having the offense to back me up and give me all the confidence in the world to do what I do.” Birmingham head coach Matt Mowry was proud to see what Flores was able to accomplish with his outstanding no-hitter performance. He says, “It was great to see him do that. He’s such a terrific player and such a terrific young man. To see him get something like that for him and for our program is just outstanding. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a no-hitter.” The Patriots will seek to accomplish their goal of a city championship as they travel to Dodger Stadium to face the Carson Colts on Saturday at 1:00 PM