La Quinta's Zakkary Morgan slides safely into third base against Garden Grove on Friday.

La Quinta wins showdown with Garden Grove


GARDEN GROVE The game was called off shortly after noon with rain showers soaking La Quinta’s field. But by 2 o’clock, the wheels were in motion again, and Friday afternoon’s first-place showdown between La Quinta and Garden Grove was relocated to Garden Grove High’s playable diamond.

La Quinta pitcher Manny Ramirez tossed six shutout innings and brothers Nathan and Chris Medellin broke a scoreless tie with a pair of RBI singles in the fifth, pushing the Aztecs past the Argonauts, 2-0, in a critical Garden Grove League contest.

With La Quinta, Garden Grove and Rancho Alamitos tied atop the standings at the beginning of the day, the Aztecs (13-6, 10-3) put themselves in control of their own destiny headed into the last week of the regular season.

“Since my freshman year, we haven’t been able to win a game (against Garden Grove), let alone sweep them, so it’s a really great feeling,” Ramirez said, referencing the Aztecs winning all three of their games against the Argonauts this spring. “During pregame, it’s in your mind that we’re all tied for first place and this game basically decides where we stand in the standings.”

The junior southpaw had trouble with his control early, walking a pair of batters in the first inning to load the bases, but as he did throughout the afternoon, Ramirez battled and worked his way out of the jam without allowing a run.

The Argonauts (13-9, 9-4) stranded nine runners on the base paths, but only collected five hits.

“It’s been a rough week, but we’ve got to tip our hat to La Quinta,” Garden Grove coach Ricardo Cepeda said, acknowledging the deaths of two former Argonaut student-athletes within the past seven days. “They outplayed us both games this week. We had chances to score early, just couldn’t get that clutch hit.”

With the game still scoreless in the bottom half of the fifth, a leadoff walk, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly advanced Aztecs left fielder Thomas Escobar to third base with one out. Nathan Medellin drilled an 0-2 fastball back up the middle for the game’s first run, and he later doubled that lead when older brother, Chris, lined an RBI single to center.

“So happy for these guys,” La Quinta coach Brian Dawson said. “They listen and they’ve bought in. Now it’s about staying focused, and approaching every game as if it’s the last one.”

The Aztecs finish the regular season next week with two games against Santiago.

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