LA MIRADA – The La Mirada High baseball team earned a trip to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals with a 9-2 victory over visiting Mira Costa on Saturday in front a standing-room-only crowd at La Mirada High.
La Mirada will play Cypress in the semifinals on Tuesday.
The Matadores (26-6) got on the scoreboard quickly, with a lead-off double by Jared Jones and Darius Perry’s RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
La Mirada added another run in the second inning on a single by Eugene Jeon with the bases loaded and two outs, but a perfect throw by Mira Costa left fielder Jonah Storey ended the threat by throwing out the second runner at the plate.
“We prepared really well the last couple days with approaches,” La Mirada head coach Jimmy Zurn said. “In the beginning half of the year we didn’t swing it the way we’re capable of, and the last couple days our offense has really shown up.”
Mira Costa consistently was able to put runners on base against Jones.
In the third inning, Chase Meidroth led off the inning with a single and Nick Carpino followed with a walk. Two batters later, Dylan Dennis drove in the first run of the game for the Mustangs (23-9) with a single to make it 2-1. Jones escaped further damage by inducing a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Jones finished the game after six innings of work, allowing one run on four hits, with eight walks and seven strikeouts.
“Just like any other performance from him, he gives you 100 percent full effort, you can’t ask for more,” Perry said of Jones.
La Mirada broke the game open in bottom half of the third inning, thanks to a three-run home run from Emilio Morales with two outs off Mira Costa starter Christian Bodlovich for a 6-1 lead.
One inning later, La Mirada tacked on two more runs on Perry’s two-run home run off reliever Merrick Baldo for an 8-1 lead. Jones decided to get in on the action with a solo shot of his own in the sixth inning for La Mirada’s third home run of the game.
Mira Costa scored its second run in the seventh inning on James Park’s RBI single before reliever Jacob Stump recorded the final out.
“We just try to play baseball the right way, make few mistakes possible, and it ended up working,” Jones said.