Buena Park baseball falls short of reaching its first CIF-SS championship game – Orange County Register

BUENA PARK — The Buena Park baseball team was on an absolute tear at the plate during a postseason run that had it just one victory away from reaching the CIF-SS title game for the first time in program history.

However, the Coyotes were unable to maintain that level of run production against a resilient South El Monte team that defeated Buena Park 2-1 on Tuesday in the CIF-SS Division 7 semifinals at Buena Park High.

The Eagles (22-6) will make their first trip to the CIF finals and face Oxford Academy on Friday or Saturday.

Top-seeded Buena Park (24-7) came into the semifinals having reached double-digit run totals in all three of their playoff games.

But the Coyotes could muster only one run against South El Monte starter Christian Ortega, who was able to maneuver out of jams unscathed for much of the day.

Buena Park had runners in scoring position in every inning except the third and fourth, but failed to string together those crucial hits to get the potential runs on the board.

“When you have an opportunity, you gotta seize the opportunity, and I think that’s the metaphor of this game. We had opportunities and we kind of let it slip,” Buena Park coach Cody Gutierrez said.

Ortega tossed a complete game, giving up just one run in the fifth inning that came from an RBI double by pinch hitter Joshua Santillian.

Ortega also had five strikeouts and walked two batters.

“It’s such a gutsy performance from everyone,” South El Monte coach Michael Gonzales said. “It’s easy to point out Christian Ortega, he’s our ace on the mound, but everyone else behind him made plays.”

Buena Park starter Jose Arcos matched Ortega for most of the game until a pinch-hit, two-RBI double by Justin Sanchez gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

“I felt it was something Justin could do. He’s a grinder and the moment was not too big for him.” Gonzales said.

The Coyotes gave the ball to Manny Rivera in the sixth and he promptly struck out the side.

Buena Park got back-to-back hits from Greg Stoddard and Neil Navarro but Ortega was able to strike out George De Avila and Izeah Reyes to end the sixth.

The Coyotes had one more chance in the seventh and got a single from Jesus Ramirez and then Rivera reached first base on a walk. Ortega was able to get the crucial outs yet again to help South El Monte get the victory,

Gutierrez couldn’t help but reflect on his team’s historic campaign, which saw the Coyotes set a new single-season record for wins.

“The guys that stayed after (practice), (to) get the extra work with us,” he said. “Just talking about life with these guys, this was more than a team and I truly mean that. It was a family and I’m excited because they set the precedent here and I’m truly excited for what’s to come, I can only thank them.”

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