Clutch hitting Owls claim home opener

The Citrus College Owls Baseball team (2-1) beat the Rio Hondo College Roadrunners (0-3) 7-6.

The back and forth game that had four different lead changes, was won in the eighth inning when Owls Sophomore 2B Rudy Casarez III drove in the game-winning RBI.

SP Kyle Dohy took the bump for the Owls for his first start of this young season. The southpaw Dohy struggled in the early-going allowing a run in three consecutive innings. But timely strikeouts and solid defense behind him left a total of nine Roadrunners stranded on base. Dohy allowed three runs and six hits over 5 innings worked while punching out six.

The Roadrunners were up three runs early while SP Brady Carlson was cruising through Owl batters giving up only one hit through four innings. However, the Owls turned it around in the fifth aided by three Roadrunner errors and timely hitting capped by Owls 1B Francisco Ramirez, who drove in two runs with the bases loaded single as they took the lead 4-3. The righty Carlson pitched five and two-thirds allowing five runs but only one earned allowing seven hits with three strikeouts.

After allowing another run in the bottom of the sixth with a mini two-out rally by the Owls, the Roadrunners had their own 2-out magic plating three runs in the seventh on three consecutive hits including an RBI double by Rio Hondo C Danny Marquez. The Roadrunners took the lead back from Citrus heading to the seventh with a 6-5 lead.

The eighth inning proved to be the most dramatic for both teams and was ultimately when the game was decided. After an Owls lead off walk, Rio Hondo P Anthony Franco (L, 0-1) was brought into the game and retired the next two Owl batters. After giving up a base on balls and putting two-runners on base, Franco was called for a balk pitching to 2B Rudy Casarez III which moved runners to scoring position with the go-ahead run now standing on second base. With an 0-1 count, Casarez III laced a single to center that drove in both baserunners to regain the lead late.

“I knew the guys were in scoring position and being captain of the team, I needed a clutch hit for my team,” said Casarez III.

Citrus College P Roberto Baldanebro (SV, 2) who came in to close the game sealed the victory for the Owls after going 1-2-3 in the ninth. For the second consecutive year, the Owls beat Rio Hondo on a last gasp efforts and improve to 7-3 against the non-conference foes.

Owls Baseball Coach Steve Gomez is proud of his batters’ approach in clutch situations.

“You have to put the bat on the ball…we teach our batters to have a good approach in line with the game plan,” Gomez said.

The Owls host the East Los Angeles College Huskies (1-1) tomorrow here at the Owl’s Nest.



Stephen is a communications major who will transfer to Cal Poly Pomona in fall 2017. This is Stephen's third semester as part of the Clarion staff. Though he is a former Opinions Editor, Stephen enjoys covering Owls teams sports and and covering news around Citrus College.