Century got its first baseball playoff victory Tuesday by beating Irvine, 3-2, in a Southern Section Division III wild-card game at Irvine High.
The Centurions (17-8) took a 3-0 lead and thwarted a pair of late-inning Irvine rallies--thanks to the pitching of Christian Duran (6-2)--to advance to Friday's first-round game at West Torrance High. Irvine finished its season 16-13.
"(Duran's) done well for us all year," Century Coach Rick Hayes said. "Today he really competed. When the score was 3-2, he really came back and battled."
Duran struck out two, walked one and gave up 10 hits, including five doubles.
Irvine rallied in the sixth inning when Eric Sobek doubled to right center and scored on Mike Walas' second double of the game. Walas took third on Eric Sonnenberg's sacrifice but was stranded when Centurion center fielder Alejandro Huizar caught Geoff Noisy's sinking liner and Matt Ward grounded out to first.
The Vaqueros closed the gap to 3-2 in the seventh after Ethan Gragnano doubled and scored on two outfield flies. Shaun Wooley singled and moved into scoring position on Duran's wild pitch, but Eric Sobek flied to center to end the game.
Irvine's hopes suffered in the fourth when Sonnenberg doubled to center with one out, overran second and was tagged in a rundown. Noisy reached first on an infield hit, but Duran got Ward to pop up to shortstop.
Duran singled in the game's first run in the first inning. Ramiro Torres' run-scoring double in the first and Alejandro Huizar's run-scoring single in the third staked the Centurions to a 3-0 lead.