Cypress maintains lead in Empire League baseball race

The Cypress High baseball team went into last week with a one-game lead in the Empire League and three teams tied for the second-place spot. The Centurions took care of Pacifica to hold their lead, but Valencia and Tustin also won both games last week to keep the pressure on Cypress.The Centurions (7-1) had two games scheduled this week against Tustin (6-2), one on Tuesday and the regular season finale’ on Thursday at home at 3 p.m. On May 3, the Centurions battled the Mariners in a tight game through six innings before scoring five in the seventh inning to pull away for a 6-0 win.On Friday, the Centurions got a no-hitter from pitcher Josh Landry, as the offense exploded in a 13-0 win over the Mariners (4-4). In the May 3 game at Pacifica, Cypress’ Raul Salazar was locked in a pitcher’s duel against Pacifica’s Jake Thomas. Salazar gave up a couple of two-out hits early, but stayed in control enough for a complete-game shutout. He struck out six batters along the way.Pacifica had a lead-off single in the fourth, but a 5-4-3 double play erased the threat. After a couple more singles, Salazar ended the inning with a called strikeout.“He did a good job of commanding the zone, his breaking ball was pretty good today,” Cypress Head Coach John Weber said of Salazar after Tuesday’s win. “He did a good job of moving in and out and he pitched down, which was good for him.”The Centurions have fielded a young team this season. Six sophomores started the May 3 game at Pacifica. Salazar, a senior co-captain of the team said the team has grown a lot this year and that his goal has been to be aggressive in his approach.“Every time I start, I pretty much want to get into the later innings and to do that you have to stay ahead early,” Salazar said.The Centurions were kept at bay by Thomas through six innings, but were able to scratch one run across in the top of the sixth. After a lead-off single by senior Isaiah Parra, sophomore Elias Rios moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Parra would move to third on a wild pitch before sophomore Mike Marsh brought him home with a fielder’s choice grounder to third. Parra was able to slide around the throw, which was wide of the plate.After Salazar retired the Mariners in order in the bottom of the sixth, the Centurions broke the game open in the top of seventh with five runs. Senior Jordan Alamo had a two-run double, sophomore Elias Rios had an RBI single and Marsh drove in the final two with an RBI double. Weber said the Centurions were able to work the count a little better in the inning.“We did a little bit better job with getting balls that we can hit … that’s kind of our logic, we’re hunting balls that we can hit,” Weber said.The Centurions came into this week with their own destiny in their hands in the Empire League title race. They would have to hold off Tustin in two games this week. The Centurions were at Tustin on Tuesday and will host the Tillers on Thursday, at 3:15 p.m.

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