Clemente’s quick start dooms Taft in conference showdown

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Clemente and Taft are both having outstanding seasons, but the Wildcats showed the Eagles that to compete for conference title, they will need a combination of pitching, strong hitting and a little bit of luck to succeed.

Despite being an hour late and not having much time to warmup, visiting Clemente earned an 11-0 victory in five innings, thanks to an eight-run first inning.

Coming into Friday’s game, the Wildcats led the three-team race for the Jackie Robinson North by two games over Lane and Taft. Clemente moved one step closer to the league title with the win, while the loss almost surely knocked Taft our of contention.

The Wildcats (14-2, 10-0) got to Eagles starter Justin Vivar early, with four of the first five batters reaching base on either a single or a triple. Every hitter in the team’s lineup had at least one hit in the inning and six different batters knocked in a run. Pedro Vazquez and Roberto Berdecia each had two RBI in the frame.

While Clemente was hot at the plate, Jonathan Figueroa was cruising on the mound. The senior retired the first 10 hitters he faced before the Eagles (18-4, 8-3) were able to mount any offensive threat with back-to-back hits in the bottom of the fourth.

Figueroa (3-for-3) helped his own cause with two RBI singles. 

Mizraim Fuentes and Vazquez also finished with three hits and two RBI each, while David Gonzalez and Anthony Justiniano each had two hits. 

Taft was able to threaten in the bottom of the fifth on back-to-back singles by Jacob Plucinski and Nate Posadas. Each moved up a base on a passed ball, but Figueroa struck out the next two batters to finish the game. Figueroa finished with six strikeouts on the evening.

Clemente can clinch with the conference with a victory over Lane on Wednesday..

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