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Fletcher's soft touch lifts Cypress into quarterfinals
PLACENTIA – Cypress center fielder Dominic Fletcher had several good swings Tuesday.
One of his worst led his team to victory.
With the score tied in the top of the seventh, Fletcher chased a 2-0 pitch off the outside corner. It squirted through the left side, scoring the go-ahead run in what would end up being a Cypress win, 4-1, over host El Dorado in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.
Fletcher was keying in on a pattern, recognizing that the Golden Hawks (15-15) had pitched him away the entire game. He said that was what compelled him to lean over the plate to get the winning hit, which bounced off the end of his bat and through the shortstop hole.
Aaron Lizarraga went 3 for 4 with a two-run single. Ryan McCanless had four hits, including an RBI single in the third.
“Baseball is a funny thing,” Fletcher said. “You can hit your hardest balls, and they can be right at someone. Sometimes, some of your worst swings will fall in for a hit.
“I saw that their left fielder was way back. I thought I’d try to put one through the left side, and it worked.”
The Centurions (25-7) will host Harvard-Westlake of Studio City on Friday. The Wolverines (23-8) defeated Vista Murrieta, 5-4, in their second-round game.
James Acuna threw a no-hitter for Cypress in the first round. Raul Salazar (8-3) did his best to follow that act, pitching a complete game. He allowed six hits, but he retired the last seven in a row. He struck out four.
“I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be the omen that (Salazar) got his first high school win on this field, and he was going to get the loss on this field today,” Centurions coach John Weber said. “I thought he did a good job of battling all the way through to the end.”
The lone blemish against Salazar came in the third. Ian Meyer and Adrian Romo strung together back-to-back hits before Augie Mattei’s groundball to second tied the score at 1-1.
In the fourth, Brandon Rho reached third for El Dorado with less than two outs. Noah Conlon grounded one to the left side. Ranging to his right, shortstop Isaak Gutierrez gloved the ball and threw Rho out at the plate to keep the score tied.