Three quick strikes from the Hornets prove to be enough to blow away the Lasers


Sophomore Freddy Castaneda right hand pitcher Fullerton College starter against Irvine Vally on March 17, 2023. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

Pedro Saravia, Staff Writer

The Fullerton College Hornets dominated in all facets of the game: pitching, hitting and defense. They flew up the scoreboard early and late to win their afternoon clash 6-0 against the Irvine Valley Lasers on Friday.

The Hornets two pitchers, starting sophomore RHP Freddy Castaneda and sophomore RHP Ryan Chavez had outstanding performances. They combined to allow seven hits while punching out four, sending the Lasers back home with zero runs.

The visiting team’s starting pitcher sophomore RHP Ryan Barlow conceded four runs and seven hits in six innings of work.

Castaneda’s job began in the first inning, making sure the Lasers (9-14) did not get ahead, leaving the door open for the Hornets to start scoring. “He did a good job. He is more pitch efficient,” said the Hornets Manager Chad Baum. “He did a phenomenal job to get ahead of hitters.”

In the first inning, sophomore outfielder Niko Santamaria hit a single to center field allowing him to get on first base. He then stole second while freshman outfielder Britton Beeson was at bat. Beeson drove Santamaria in with a booming double to left field, taking the lead up to 1-0.

Freshmen Niko Santamaria outfielder running to three base on March 17, 2023 against Irvine Vally.
Freshmen Niko Santamaria outfielder running to third base on March 17, 2023 against Irvine Valley College. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

The Hornets (15-10) continued to put the pressure on the Lasers as sophomore catcher Elie Kligman was walked. A double to left field by sophomore first baseman Kaipo Haole allowed Beeson and Kligman to score runs taking their lead to 3-0 in the first inning.

The next five innings turned the game from offensive to defensive, as Hornets were not able to add any more runs and stretch the lead despite great pitching.

“He [Barlow] did a better job on mixing his pitches and we didn’t take the greatest at bats consistently like we did in the fist and the seventh,” said Baum on the lack of runs during those innings.

The Lasers almost scratched the run column during a two out rally in the top of the third inning. Things started with sophomore outfielder Noah Madole hitting a single to right field. The next at bat saw sophomore catcher Adrian Reveles hit a double to center field allowing No. Madole to get to third. However, sophomore infielder Nick Madole killed the scoring threat by lining out to right field.

During the sixth inning, Irvine Valley Manager Kent Madole went on the field to argue with the umpire who did not allow Ni. Madole to take first, even though it appeared that Castaneda had plunked him on the arm. Yet, nothing came of the discussion.

Freshmen Jimmy Blumberg shortstop at bat hitting the ball to outfield on March 17, 2023 against Irvine Vally.
Freshmen shortstop Jimmy Blumberg at bat swinging at the ball to outfield on March 17, 2023 against Irvine Valley College home game. Photo credit: Yasmin Sotelo

A single to left field by sophomore shortstop Jimmy Blumberg started play for the Hornets in the home half of the seventh inning. Blumberg’s hit was followed by a walk issued to sophomore outfielder Isaiah Marquez pushing Blumberg to second. He then reached third on a SAC fly from Santamaria, leaving runners on the corners until Beeson’s walk filled the bases with Hornets.

With the bases loaded, a moonshot double from Kligman to center field cleared the bases, having Blumberg, Marquez and Beeson all cross home plate, which expanded the lead to 6-0 for the Hornets.

Closing pitcher Chavez sealed the win in the 9th inning, not letting the Lasers get on base. “[I] just stay in my approach with the hitters and just go after them,” said Chavez.

The Hornets next game will be Tuesday at home against the Cypress Chargers (16-4) on Tuesday, Mar. 21 at 2p.m.