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ED CRISOSTOMO , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Cypress catcher Anthony Marquez tags out Tustin's Anthony Walters at the plate during the first inning of an Empire League game Friday.

Marquez delivers in clutch, giving Cypress win over Tustin

STAFF WRITER

TUSTIN – It became apparent early Friday that hits were going to be scarce as Tustin’s Antonio Barrios and Cypress’ Raul Salazar faced off Friday in an Empire League contest.

Fortunately for the Centurions, Anthony Marquez made the most of his at-bats.

Marquez had Cypress’ first hit of the game, a single in the fifth inning. He also had the most important hit, a single to left field to drive in Dominic Fletcher in the seventh, giving the seventh-ranked Centurions a 1-0 victory at Tustin High.

Fletcher led off the seventh with a single and moved to second on a balk. Aaron Lizarraga was intentionally walked by Tustin (10-11, 0-2), bringing Marquez to the plate for the Centurions (13-6, 2-0).

On a 0-1 pitch, Marquez ripped a single to left, bringing in Fletcher.

“Yes, I take it as a challenge,” he said of Tustin intentionally walking Lizarraga to face him. “I had to clear my mind and just see fastball inside, and I ripped it.”

Before the seventh, Cypress had just one runner reach second base against Barrios, who went the distance, allowing three hits.

Cypress starter Raul Salazar (3-2) was just as dominantl, pitching a two-hitter and striking out four. He allowed both hits in the first inning. He retired the nine of the last 10 batters he faced.

“My defense gave me a great opportunity to keep making great pitches, and they backed me up with some huge plays,” Salazar said. “My fastball early and my slider early were helping me get ahead (of batters), and it helped throughout the whole game.”

Barrios faced the minimum Cypress hitters through four innings before Marquez singled with one out in the fifth inning.

“He gave us a chance to win,” Tustin coach Charles Chatman said of Barrios.

Tustin had two early opportunities to push across a run, but had two runners thrown out at the plate. In the first inning, it had a runner thrown out at the plate on the back end of a double steal.

“We haven’t swung it very well this year, so when we get an opportunity to score a run, we kind of need to push it,” Chatman said. “That’s kind of our approach.

“He (Salazar) did a really good job keeping us off-balanced. He got a lot of flyball outs, which is kind of against our approach. We have pretty decent team speed, so we try to stay on the ground, but he kept us in the air a lot and took away our speed.”

Cypress defeated Tustin, 8-7, on Wednesday.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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