Baseball Puts On Its Rally Shue in 9th, Down El Camino, 6-5

Teammates mob Lancer Tony Shue (31, right side) following his walk-off hit Monday in defeating El Camino 6-5, photo by Richard Quinton.
Teammates mob Lancer Tony Shue (31, right side) following his walk-off hit Monday in defeating El Camino 6-5, photo by Richard Quinton.

State No. 13-ranked El Camino led the Pasadena City College baseball team, 5-1,with six outs to go Monday afternoon. The Lancers though rallied, tying it on a 2-RBI double by reserve rightfielder Frank Yokas and then stealing a 6-5 victory when Tony Shue launched a bases loaded, walk-off drive well down the left field line to end the South Coast Conference contest at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Field.

PCC upped its record to 10-7 overall and evened its conference mark at 1-1. El Camino is 9-8 and also 1-1.

With one out in the ninth, shortstop Jose Jimenez was walked intentionally to load the bases, bringing up Shue. A 5-foot-10, 185-pound designated hitter, Shue joined the Lancers after serving the military in the U.S. Marine Corps the past four years.  The 23-year-old Monrovia High product crushed a bomb that the home umpire ruled fair, allowing pinch runner John Bicos to score the winning run. Shue was immediately mobbed by his teammates in celebration.

Shue, who was 2-for-5, also knocked in a run in the eighth on a RBI groundout to third that cut the Warriors lead to 5-2. In the ninth, PCC began its comeback with backup leftfielder Kevin Miles ripping a single to center and first baseman Jason Ajamian drawing a walk. El Camino starting pitcher Kenneth Haas was lifted from the game after throwing a 3-hitter to that point. Closer Joseph Brazil entered and Edward Manzo, who played all three outfield positions in the game after starting in left, laced a RBI single to left. 

After a sacrifice bunt by backup second baseman Alex Jelloian put runners on second and third, pinch hitter Sean Fassler walked and late-inning sub Yokas, who had just four plate appearances before this game, followed with his booming, game-tying double on a first-pitch fastball to right center. Jimenez IBB and Shue's clutch hit allowed the Lancers to end a 5-game losing streak against El Camino dating back to 2016. 

PCC reliever Race Gardner hurled two no-hit, shutout innings to earn his first win of the season. The sophomore right-hander led the Lancers in wins last year with six. Starter Josh Aguilar pitched well and kept his team in the game, allowing just two runs on seven hits over five innings while striking out five. Reliever Lorenzo Llorens was touched for a 3-run homer to right center by Spencer Palmer in the sixth that gave El Camino a 5-1 advantage. 

"We kept sending in the subs and they came up big, especially Yokas," McGee said. "Shue is becoming a true clutch hitter for us. He has had some huge at bats late in games. It was nice to finally beat El Camino. We got roughed up at their place and we were very close to getting swept here. I'm hoping this victory will help light a fire under us in conference."

Jimenez extended his season-long hit streak to 17 games and his overall hit string to 24 in a row. He hit safely in his last seven games as a freshman, including hits in all four playoff games v. Riverside City College and El Camino. 

McGee used 18 players v. El Camino, including all 15 of his position players. Had the game gone extra innings, he said he would have had to insert Shue at catcher and remove the DH with starting catcher Matt Orozco removed for a pinch hitter in the ninth. 

On March 1, the Lancers opened the 22-game conference schedule with an 11-0 loss at El Camino. Warriors' starter and winning pitcher Daniel Alvarez traded three scoreless innings with PCC ace Gordon Ingebritson (4-1). In the fourth, however, ECC plated seven runs to knock out Ingebritson and went on to blank PCC. Pasadena third baseman Nico Martinez went 2-for-4 and stole a base. Fourth PCC pitcher Matt McElligott tossed 2.1 innings of 1-hit ball with three strikeouts. 

PCC opens a 2-game series at LA Harbor College on Tuesday, March 6 in a 2 p.m. start.