The Chavez Eagles defeat the Sun Valley Magnet Pioneers 13-3 to Win CIF LA City Section Division III Championship
Brandon Zazueta went 3 for 4 and drove in seven runs including a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the fifth to help the Chavez Eagles claim the CIF LA City Section Division III Championship over the Sun Valley Magnet Pioneers with a 13-3 mercy-rule victory.
Both the Chavez Eagles and Sun Valley Mangent Pioneers competed in Stengel Field at Glendale Community College on Friday night with both teams looking to end their season with the championship title after a long run to the final. Chavez, who was the first seed in the tournament, advanced to the final with a dominant 11-1 victory over the fourth seed Smidt Tech in the previous round while their counterpart, Sun Valley Magnet entered the tournament as the third seed and clinched their spot in the championship game with a narrow 7-6 win over second seed Sherman Oaks CES.
Freshman pitcher Ivan Martinez started the game for the Eagles where he gave up the early 1-0 lead to Sun Valley Magnet, as Alejandro Dionisio stole home plate in a play that involved a double steal. Chavez would respond quickly to the early deficit, as they put up a three spot in the very next half inning to take a 3-1 lead that was highlighted by a Zazueta double down the left field line to drive in 2 runs and would kickstart the Eagles offense.
Chavez would continue to pour on the runs over the Pioneers when, in the bottom of the second, Zazueta doubled on a fly ball towards center field to help his Eagles claim a 6-1 lead. The Pioneers originally started Diego Loredo on the bump, but switched him out after only recording 1 and one-third innings pitched and replaced him with left-hander Thomas Noguera. For Chavez, the changing in pitcher wouldn’t stop their offense as they went to add another run with Zazueta scoring on a passed ball.
With Sun Valley down six runs, Dionisio would score easily with a fly ball hit by Noguera who would also get on base by an error committed by the Chavez left fielder for the second run to cut the deficit down to five. Chavez, feeling the comeback attempt by Sun Valley, would go on to score yet again in the third due to an error committed by Pioneers third baseman Torres Dionisio, who was unable to make the out at first on a poor throw that made first baseman come off the bag and that play would result in Ethan Ruiz scoring for the Eagles to extend their lead back to six once more. The Pioneers wouldn't add any runs until the top of the fifth when Alejandro Dionisio scored off a Noguera fly ball for the Pioneers' third run of the game.
Zazueta came back to the plate in the bottom of the fifth looking to put the game out of the Pioneers’ reach, and he doubled with the bases loaded to drive in 3 runs and erupt the Eagles dugout while extending his teams lead to eight at 11-3. It was then senior, Luis Hernandez who went up to bat for Chavez in the bottom of the sixth looking to conclude his teams season with a walk-off mercy when his teammates, Martinez and Ruiz walked, Hernandez would go on to single on a ground ball to left field and walk off the Pioneers and clinch his team the Eagles the CIF Division III title.
Ivan Martinez would go on to collect the win with 5.1 innings pitched, 8 strikeouts, and 2 earned runs and Brandon Zazueta would drive in seven runs and go 3 for four. For Sun Valley Magnet, Noguera would take the loss as he would surrender six runs in four and a third innings pitched in relief.
Once the game had concluded the Chavez Eagles were all awarded medals for the win and Coach Victor Soleto was handed the plaque that officially recognizes the Chavez Eagles as CIF LA City Section Division III champions. After all the awards and the celebrations, Chavez Sophomore Andres Tapia spoke about the team's mindset going into the championship game and also added his feelings and emotions knowing he is a champion, “Our mindset is to know no matter if we're winning or losing we need to see the score 0-0 and have that mindset to win.” He went on to say, “You know I’m just so excited to be here and win the championship and it's just been a big opportunity to be here.”