Tehachapi Knocks Off Providence
Providence High senior Jeff Cirillo has accumulated some impressive statistics this season. He went into Friday’s Southern Section playoff game against Tehachapi with a .560 batting average, 55 runs batted in, a 1.73 earned-run average and 131 strikeouts in 81 innings.
But the only numbers he was interested in after the Small Schools Large Division quarterfinal at Burroughs High were the ones that indicated the final score: Tehachapi 2, Providence 1.
“I’d rather lose by a lot and get shelled than lose like this,” Cirillo said. “That would show they’re a better team.”
Cirillo pitched a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts. One of the Tehachapi hits was a two-run, first-inning home run by center fielder Chris Olofson, his fourth.
Providence had only three hits, including Cirillo’s first-inning single that drove in Steve Ross. Cirillo finished with 56 RBIs to tie the mark set by Chris Donnels of South Torrance in 1984 but fell two shy of the record 58 set this season by Scott Davison of Redondo.
Providence, the defending Small Schools champion, failed to take advantage of three scoring opportunities.
In the second, John Lite was on second base with no outs when Ross flied out to right field. Lite went to third but was called out at second because the umpire ruled he left the bag too soon.
Providence failed to capitalize in the fifth when Ross reached second with no outs. Salazar tried to bunt Ross to third but popped out to the pitcher. Ross, who was running on the play, easily was doubled up at second.
In the sixth inning, Providence again put the leadoff batter on second with no outs, but Rich Campus and Mark Miyamoto flied out and Larry Kuklin struck out, stranding Adam Grant at second.
Although his team beat Cirillo (10-3), Tehachapi Coach Cliff Wiggins said he still was impressed with the 1986 Small Schools Player of the Year.