(East Los Angeles, CA) Roosevelt Rough Rider baseball fans are loudly celebrating the recent two-game sweep of their dreaded archrivals, the Garfield Bulldogs in last week’s Eastern League match-ups, and as featured, very fittingly in the “East L.A. Diamond Classic-2018. “ The games were played at 6 pm on 5/1 and at 7 pm on 5/3 at East L.A. College, the designated home field for both schools this season. We now bring you our coverage, both in photo gallery and video format. We hope you enjoy our presentation and ask you to share it with all of your social media networks.
The May 1st Roosevelt home game game featured the “Riders Senior Appreciation Night.“ A packed stadium on both sides were able to acknowledge the following (13) seniors: Brandon Hernandez, Luis Martinez, Salvador Zepeda, Jesus Acosta, Ethan Lopez, Raul Simon Diaz, Jovany Delgado, Raymond Reynoso, Ernesto Hernandez, Leo Nava, Ernesto Nava, Armando Romo, and Edwin Garcia. After a great celebration and acknowledgementof these seniors, it was time for the “Classic” to begin.
In this Eastern League match-up, the fans in attendance watched a pitchers duel in the form of Garfield’s Damian Jaimes, and Roosevelt’s, Salvador Zepeda. The Bulldogs threatened in their top of the 5th inning with a two-out triple, but Zepeda would retire the next hitter to end the Garfield inning. Then, in the bottom of the 6th, the Riders manufactured the only run of the game when Ernie Hernandez drove in Jesus Acosta, who led off with a double. Zepeda would not disappoint his team nor the Rider fans as he pitched a three hit gem in a 1-0, complete game victory, while improving his pitching record to (6-3). Head Coach, Ray Ruiz, commented that “it was one of his best efforts as a Rider and we’re very happy that it came at this crucial point in the season. Coach Ruiz went on to add that, “Salvador has been a pleasant surprise this season. He finally started to work closer with our pitching coach, Francisco Figueroa who taught him how to be more efficient by getting ahead on counts, and inducing ground-outs versus going to a full count.” Also, his contributions as hitter and pitcher all season were outstanding.”
In contrast, the May 3rd game featured more offense from both teams as the visiting Riders would hold off a Bulldog rally and eke out a 3-2 win. Recapping this game, the Riders were led into battle by their senior ace starter, Luis Martinez. The Riders scored a run in the 1st, 3rd, and the 5th giving them a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the 5th. The Bulldogs would counter with 2 runs tying the game in their half of the inning as their team leaders, Victor Villasana and Seth Cantu each had an RBI. However, the rally would fall short with the third out. Martinez then got his second-wind and closed out the Bulldogs in the 6th and 7th innings to earn the victory. The senior pitched a complete game striking out 4 while allowing only 1 earned run. Due to his season-long performances, there should be no doubt that Martinez will be acknowledged for his efforts by the Eastern League and the CIF/L.A. City Section’s All-City Selection Committee. And once again, due to the proud and loyal fan bases of both schools, plus this longtime traditional rivalry, ELAC’s baseball stadium was filled to another capacity crowd.
With these wins, the Riders accomplished three important team milestones. First, they “3-peated” as Eastern League Champions. Secondly, they earned themselves a very decent seeding in the upcoming playoffs. And lastly, they solidly maintained their ranking in the Top 10 list of the weekly Fox Sports/So Cal Prep Insider Report. It could be quite possible that they may have moved up a notch or two. According to previous polls, the Riders represent the only inner-city based team from East Los Angeles.
On winning the Eastern League title, Coach Ruiz told East L.A. Sports Scene that, “it was a tribute to the kids who worked hard every day, putting in all of the extra work needed to become Champions. And now, they are fully reaping the benefits after buying into their Coaches training techniques. As a team, we are here to stay.” As a tribute to his reserves of seniors and underclassmen, Coach Ruiz commented that, “they will receive much-deserved playing time to close out the regular season. However, our team will practice hard in preparation for these final two games and then the playoffs. There’s simply no slowing down because our job is not done yet!”
At the time of this writing, the Riders (19-9) overall and (8-0) League will play their final two games of the season on-the-road against Huntington Park, this Tuesday and Thursday, and then will wait till Saturday when the L.A. City Section Playoff Committee announces its pairings for the Division I Baseball Championships. The Bulldogs overall record was (7-19) and (2-6) in the Eastern League. They conclude their regular season against Bell this week.
Team Batting Leaders (To Date): Roosevelt/Brandon Hernandez/SR/.453; Salvador Zepeda/SR/.370; Jesus Acosta/SR/.338; and Ethan Lopez/SR/.319. Garfield/Victor Villasana/FR/.319; Seth Cantu/SR/.317; Adrian Soto/JR/.333 & Jose (JJ) Gonzalez/FR/.307
Media Credits: Digital Photography, Anthony Ramirez & Erik Sarni, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions; Videography, Erik Sarni, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions.