June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Century baseball team battling for league title with one week left in season

Century High School’s baseball team is looking for a strong finish to the regular season. (Photo: Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone).

The Century High School baseball team is revving up for the CIF playoffs. 

Century (18-5-1, 5-1-1) is tied with Savanna (18-4-1, 5-1-1) for second place in the Orange League. Anaheim (13-10, 6-1) leads the league and defeated Century 5-3 in the opener of a two-game series Wednesday.

In this week’s CIF Division 6 poll, Century was ranked second and Savanna.

In a non-league game Saturday, April 13, Century pounded out 15 hits and took advantage of nine Santa Ana errors, cruising to a 13-0 nonleague victory over the Saints at Santa Ana.

Century lefthanded starting pitcher Andy Santana limited the Saints to one hit over the first four innings to earn the win and help the Centurions improve to 18-4.

Santana was also a force at the plate as well as the junior hurler registered four hits, had four RBI, scored three runs and was on base all five times he batted. His three-run triple in the third inning highlighted a Centurions seven-run rally and gave Century a 10-0 lead after three innings. 

“I was looking to hit the ball and get on base and do my job,” said Santana, who pitched out of bases loaded jams in the second and fourth innings without allowing a run. “Our team is bonding and we’re playing well.”

Santana got the Centurions offense started in the top of the first as he singled to lead off the game. Miguel Ulloa followed with a single and Julian Arias drilled a RBI scoring Santana. Ulloa and Arias also scored in the inning as Century jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back. 

Although Santana gave up only one hit, Centurions Coach Theo Cortes said he decided to replace his starter after four innings.

“Andy was struggling at the start of the game (five walks and a hit batter) and his pitch count got high, so we brought in a reliver after four innings,” said Cortes, who is in his 21st year at Century’s coach. “We have two big league games coming up next week with Anaheim and they are only a half-game behind us. Our kids are coming around with their hitting and they’re playing good defensively.”

Freshman Giovanni Moreno pitched the final three innings for Century and gave up just two hits.

Arias had a strong game for the Centurions as he smacked three hits, scored two runs, had a stolen base and had a RBI. Ismael Valverde had two hits and three RBI and Alfredo Rivera scored two runs. Derek Fonseca reached base four times and had two hits, scored two runs and had a RBI for Century. 

Despite the setback, Saints Coach Louis Oakley remained upbeat about his teams playoffs chances.

“The injury-bug has hit us late in the season and we had some guys playing out of position today, but there are no excuses,” said Oakley. “We have a bye week this week and we’ll use the next six days to get healthy. We control our own destiny with our last two league games against Orange in the final week of the season. I know our guys can play with anybody.”

—Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone