Carrying his lunch bucket to work, Justin Garza put in another blue-collar (blue ribbon?) performance, throwing a two-hit complete game while white-washing Bell Gardens 10-0 and extending his unbeaten streak to 12-0, two shy of tying the San Gabriel Valley high school record for consecutive wins.
The only difference with this latest victory is it came in the first round of the CIF Section 3 playoffs. Garza gave up a pair of singles in the seventh inning and a pair of walks; otherwise, the senior right hander was perfect.
Garza became aware of his no-hit bid in the sixth inning, as players in the dugout started avoiding him. “I heard people talking, but no one talked to me,” Garza said.
A little bit of the credit behind Garza’s performance has to go to his catcher Mark Lindsay, who has helped guide to Garza to a perfect record this season. “This was probably the best one of the whole season,” Lindsay said.
While Garza did the expected, left field fielder Nolan Henley, batting in the nine hole, did the unexpected, blasting a three-run home run over the wash in the bottom of the fifth to break open a close 3-0 game.
“I knew the pitching was coming,” Henley said. “I knew to sit on it, and everything fell into place.”
With upsets popping up all over the valley this week (Glendora and South Hills both fell) , Bonita coach John Knott was happy to get this game into the win column. The offense took a little pressure off of being the No. 1 seed in the tournament by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Leading off, Justin Rowe cracked a solid single to left, which Matt Gelalich followed up with a bunt single. Bell Gardens pitcher Albert Flores plunked Robert Mier to load the bases for KC Huth who responded with a two-run double. Thomas Castro cashed in Mier with a sacrifice fly to end the scoring.
Then the bats went silent until the fifth when Henley manned up with the powerful blast to left. Before Henley went gonzo, Lindsay had doubled and Andrew Rojas drew an intentional pass. The blast seemed to ignite the entire team, as Rowe followed with a double and Gelalich, who was 3-for-3 on the day, tripled into the right field corner to drive in Rowe.
In the bottom of the sixth, Bonita struck for three more runs, on five straight hits from Huth, Thomas Castro, Lindsay, Tyler Heslop, and Anthony Gonzalez. Castro and Heslop each doubled.
Bonita now is one step closer to a return to the CIF Finals. Adam McCreery will get the start on Tuesday. Bonita almost saw perfection on Friday. Who knows what Tuesday will bring?
Video will be up later tonight!