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CHATSWORTH — Sierra Canyon’s leadoff hitter Omar Cisneros blasted a double to right field at his first at bat. The senior shortstop turned to his team’s dugout and crossed his arms with oomph, nodding his head up and down at his teammates, sporting a determined smile.
The early play led to a first-inning run for Sierra Canyon, which gripped onto the narrow advantage all game, defeating Cypress 2-1 Tuesday afternoon at home in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
“We came here to play, bring high energy all game, “Cisneros said about setting the tone early with his first at bat. “We let them know that we’re here to stay.”
The Trailblazers will travel to JSerra for a quarterfinal matchup Friday.
Cisneros also scored Sierra Canyon’s second run, leading off the bottom of the third inning with a single and eventually reaching home plate on a ground ball RBI by Grant Werdesheim with the bases loaded.
The shortstop’s offense was of vital importance in such a close game, but it was his defense and the team’s defense as a whole that was the main catalyst to victory.
Senior catcher Ethan Munoz dominated behind the plate, making precise and powerful throws to prevent Cypress baserunners from reaching extra bases.
In the third inning, Munoz threw out Cypress’ Gabe Cobian on an attempt to steal third. In the sixth inning, a pitch that went by him bounced off the backstop and into his hands, which he fired off to third base to prevent Cypress outfielder Matthew Morrell from advancing.
Sophomore Ethan Montes pitched four scoreless innings, recording two strikeouts, before handing the ball off to junior Jonny Hagopian. Brady Hewitt closed out the final two innings for the Trailblazers.
“We knew Cypress was going to come in swinging the bat. I told him to go compete, attack that strike zone,” Munoz said about Montes. “They might get a couple barrels but we have a great defense behind us and they are going to make those plays and you saw that today.”
The Centurions rallied in the fifth inning, with Justin Tillar starting the inning with a walk before seniors Luke Matlock and Max Senesac hit singles to load the bases with zero outs.
Cypress was able to score on a bad throw by Hagopian to first base, but a crucial baserunning error led to a double play, eventually ending the inning with only one run to show for it.
“It’s pretty simple, we make four baserunning mistakes, which is uncharacteristic of us. One of them was a bad break,” Cypress head coach John Weber said. “The other three baserunning mistakes, running with our head down on a safety squeeze, not bunting the ball to the right spot. Everything gets magnified the more you play and the tighter the ball games.”
JSerra, 6-1 winners over Etiwanda, is the defending Southern Section Division 1 champions.
“We’re going to come back tomorrow and get ready for JSerra,” Munoz said. “They are an amazing team, but we’re not ready to go home. We’re going to go in there, head straight, with one goal in mind, and that’s to win that baseball game.”
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