Katella shuts out Century to gain share of first place


ANAHEIM – The Orange League title remains unclaimed headed into the regular season’s final week.

Katella got a one-hit shutout from Alex Penaloza to beat Century, 3-0, in an important league clash at Boysen Park on Friday night.

“For us, we’ve been saying for a while that we need to win every game,” Katella coach Marcello Miranda said. “Today, Alex Penaloza did a great job of throwing strikes, attacking the strike zone and giving us a chance.”

Katella (12-13, 10-3) tied Century (16-8, 10-3) atop the Orange League standings. Both teams have two league games to play next week. Katella will face third-place Anaheim, and Century will take on last-place Santa Ana Valley.

“We started the season pretty bad, and towards the end we started to come together,” Penaloza said of his team. “That’s really what’s helped us. We’re all coming together.”

The game moved quickly as Penaloza and Century starter Lopez Cristian mowed down opposing batters. They allowed four base runners combined in the first four innings.

In the fifth, Penaloza chopped a ball down the third-base line and over the head of the third baseman for a leadoff single.

Penaloza advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and with two outs, he sprinted home and scored as a routine grounder got through the second baseman.

“Usually they make the fundamental play,” Miranda said of Century. “Today, it went our way. One of the balls booted early on gave us a run and gave us the momentum to finish the game.”

In the sixth, Angel Lopez reached second base on a wide throw to first. Rafael Flores doubled and drove in Lopez, and Penaloza scored Flores with a RBI single to make it 3-0.

Penaloza recorded his sixth three-batter inning in the seventh to complete the shutout. He struck out four and allowed one walk.

Cristian recorded three strikeouts and allowed four hits in six innings.

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