May 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Anaheim baseball team looks ready for the challenge in CIF Division 6 final

Jillian Albayati is scheduled to start on the mound Saturday for Anaheim. (Photo courtesy Mark Bausman, For OC Sports Zone).

Anaheim High School’s baseball team has a couple star players but has gotten contributions up and down the lineup all season long to reach the CIF Division 6 championship game Saturday at 10 a.m. against Estancia at Goodwin Field on the Cal State Fullerton campus.

“This team has worked hard and been through so much to put themselves in this position. It is just fun to watch them play together,” said Anaheim Coach Mike Barrera, an alumnus of the school. “All of the players have each been a major contribution to the team. It seems like someone different has stepped up in big plays every game.”

It will be the first time that Anaheim has been in the CIF finals since 1980, when it lost to West Torrance. 

“Being an alumni of the school myself has made this even more special,” Barrera said.

Anaheim (21-9-1) is led by pitcher Jillian Albayati, who is scheduled to get the start on the mound Saturday. Albatati is 11-0 with a 1.67 ERA and has 60 strikeouts in 79 innings. She’s also one of the Colonists top hitters, batting .362 average, 15 RBI and 15 runs scored.

“Jillian Albayati and Aaron Rojas have been our two pitchers that have been leading our charge,” Barrera said.

Rojas has an 8-3 record with a 0.96 ERA and in 70 1/3 innings and has struck out 65.

“The team has played solid defense behind them,” Barrera said. “Evan Torres and Sonny Rios are the two holding down the middle infield with Jesus Mejia at third base.

“Our outfielders do a great job covering ground with Isaac Hernandez at center and Derrick Saim, Albert Uribe on the corners.”

Saim is batting .360 with 25 RBI and 20 runs scored, Hernandez is batting .308 with 10 RBI and 22 runs scored and Mejia is batting .348 with nine RBI and 15 runs scored. Damien Sandoval is batting .320 with 14 RBI and 11 runs scored and Rojas is batting .325 with 14 RBI.

Anaheim advanced to the finals with a 4-1 victory over Bellflower in the semifinals. The Colonists also defeated Whittier Christian 9-1, Rim of the World 2-0 and Buckley 12-5.

Both teams will advance to the CIF regional tournament.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;