May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Cypress clinches Empire League championship with 4-0 victory over Kennedy

Cypress High’s baseball team poses for a picture after winning the league title Friday (Photos courtesy Mia Jones, For OC Sports Zone).

Winning league championships has become a tradition for the Cypress High baseball team over the past two decades. 

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Friday afternoon the host Centurions did it again as they notched their seventh consecutive Empire League title with a 4-0 win over Kennedy of La Palma. 

Cypress junior lefthander Brett Wozniak pitched a three-hit complete game shutout as the Centurions (24-3, 8-0) captured their 14th league title since 2003. Cypress has won 10 of its last 12 games. The Fighting Irish fell to 20-8 and 5-3 but remain in second place in league.  

“It feels surreal to win the league title and we’re really happy to do it at home in front of our fans,” said Wozniak, who was mobbed by his teammates on the mound after striking out Evan Anderson to end the game. “We have seven more games to win (referring to Cypress’ two remaining regular season games and five CIF playoff games they would have to win to capture a CIF championship). We need to stayed locked in.”

Over the first three innings both Wozniak and the Fighting Irish’s starting pitcher Sam Moctezuma were near perfect as neither one yielded a hit. 

The Centurions broke on top in the bottom of the fourth inning scoring three times. Cameron Repetti reached first base on a Kennedy infield error and moved to third on a perfectly placed hit-and-run base hit to right field by Tyler Chaffee.

Wozniak then stepped to the plate and drilled a two-run, two-strike double to right center to give Cypress a 2-0 lead. One out later, Braden Murphy made it 3-0 with an RBI single.

The Fighting Irish had their best opportunity of the game to score in the fifth inning but came up short.

Sebastian McSherry drew awalk to lead off the inning. Tyler Beckler then recorded Kennedy’s first hit giving the Fighting Irish to two on with no outs. Following a strikeout and a fielder choice, Anderson walked to load the bases. However, Wozniak got Chase Leonard to ground out to second to end the inning. 

“I stayed with my fastball and changeup to get out of the jam and I knew my teammates would play great defense behind me,” Wozniak added.

Wozniak cruised the rest of the way to post his third complete game of the season.

Garett Crenshaw blasted his first career home run to lead off the fifth inning to give the Centurions an insurance run.

“I’ve been struggling a bit but I had a break through this week in practice and I hit a fastball and it felt good,” said Crenshaw.

“It’s a new day for us and it’s great to win a league title; this is a good group of kids,” said Cypress coach John Weber. “Sometimes we’re hard headed, but we made offensive adjustments the second time around the order today. Woz (Wozniak) was unbelievable and it was nice to see Garett have a big game.”

Despite the loss, Kennedy’s coach Tom Monahan was optimistic about his team’s season and upcoming playoffs. 

“Our team competed with these guys,” said Monahan. “This is the first-time time in 15 years the school’s program has won 20 games and we have only gone to the playoffs once in 14 years. We’ve had an excellent season and we have more ahead of us.”

Moctezuma gave credit to the Centurions. 

“I missed my spots and they capitalized,” Moctezuma said. “I could have made better pitches at the end of the game but it’s a learning experience.”

-Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone