Rodriguez connects at key moment in Esperanza win


BREA – Baseball can have long droughts of action, but when an opportunity presents itself, it has to be seized upon.

It also helps if you know what’s coming.

Esperanza took advantage of a leadoff error in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single by Steven Rodriguez to defeat Brea Olinda, 2-0, in a nonleague game Friday at Brea Olinda High.

“We picked off their signs, so I had somebody from the dugout telling me what’s coming,” Rodriguez said. “He hung a curveball, and I turned on it.”

The teams combined for just seven baserunners through five innings, as Esperanza’s Blake Schriever and Brea Olinda’s Damien Norte waged a pitching duel.

The game turned in Esperanza’s favor in the sixth.

Sean Noguchi led off the sixth for Esperanza (15-6) by hitting a ball off the leg of the second baseman for Brea Olinda (11-11).

Erick Leef got on base with a one-out single, and pinch runner Jacob Schmidt and Leef advanced to third and second base on a deep flyout.

That set the stage for Rodriguez to drill the ball through the left side of the infield for a two-run single.

“That’s our No. 4 hitter,” Esperanza coach Mike Curran said. “Your 3-4-5 hitters are supposed to be your RBI guys. It was no different today. He got in there, got a base hit, got us two runs, and that was the game.”

Brea Olinda looked to come back in its half of the sixth. Dawson Moody got on base with a leadoff error and Connor Tousignant reached base on a single.

Schriever induced a fly ball and a first-to-second-to-first double play to get out of the jam.

“We give them an opportunity and then, boom, they double play us,” Brea Olinda coach Michael Baker said. “That’s baseball.”

Schriever got out of another jam in the seventh to earn the victory and a shutout.

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