Sylmar Spartans defeat Kennedy Cougars 1 – 0 in the CIF LA City Section Division 1 Championship
On a cloudy Saturday morning on May 27, 2023 the Kennedy Cougars played the Sylmar Spartans at Dodger Stadium. The CIF LA City Section Division 1 Championship did not disappoint the supporters who made the commute to support their respected teams. Mistakes by the Cougars in the bottom of the 7th inning ended their championship run and the Spartans did just enough to win the Division 1 Championship. Both programs were evenly matched the entire game, but it would be the Sylmar Spartans who would come out victorious in front of their supporters.
The Spartans and Cougars were evenly matched throughout the ball game, and the bottom of the 4th inning ended with both teams deadlocked in a 0-0 tie, with neither side able to get much going. Both crowds were then given highlight plays from their teams where either team could have taken the lead. In the bottom of the 5th inning the Spartans had the opportunity to take the lead when third baseman junior Hector Martinez drew a walk. Cesar Morales stepped up to bat and got a single against pitcher Oscar Patron of Kennedy. With runners on 1st and 3rd base, the Cougars got the crucial third out to eliminate the momentum of the Spartans. The much-needed play ended the bottom of the 5th inning 0 to 0. In the top of the 6th inning Kennedy’s Abel Castillo gave a spark of life to the supporters getting a 2-base hit. Despite having a runner in scoring position the Cougars could not capitalize. This would be the last real scoring opportunity for the Cougars.
The composure and few mistakes by the Spartans would decide the game. Both teams played with the best efforts as the Championship game’s only difference came in the bottom of the 7th inning. With bases loaded, Victor Carrera of Sylmar got a walk-off base hit to bring Adrian Jaime home. The Sylmar Spartans come out victorious over the Kennedy Cougars in a 1 – 0 final in the bottom of the 7th inning at Dodger Stadium.
Coach Raymond Rivera attributes the success of the team to the supporters who continued to support the Spartans throughout their season, “They’ve been showing up all year and it just got bigger and bigger.” He said. “The community and alumni are such a big part in this.” Rivera emphasized the composure of Sylmar late in the game, “Kennedy is a great team so we knew it was going to be the type of game where the first team to capitalize on the mistakes of the other was going to come out on top.” The CIF LA City Section Division 1 Champions Sylmar Spartans end the season with a record of 23 – 9 and the runner-up Kennedy Cougars finish the season with a record of 19 – 9. Rivera had this final message “I’m just so proud of the work they’ve put in throughout the year. Our boys showed up day in and day out. They’ve done everything they were supposed to do to get to this point. It’s paid off!”
The Spartans will be participating in the CIF state tournament. Their Southern Regional matchup will be on the road against Canyon (Anaheim) on Tuesday, May 30, with first pitch scheduled for 4:00pm.