Colton ends season with Senior Night display of power, beating Fontana 13-1

Adan Sanchez hits two home runs and pitches five shutout innings as Colton now awaits CIF decision over playoff berth


J. Ramirez

Adan Sanchez is greeted at home plate by a swarm of his Yellowjacket teammates after hitting his second home run of the game, a 2-run blast during the second inning.

Colton, CA—With the joy of Senior Night inspiring them, the Yellowjackets looked loose on Friday, beating the Fontana Steelers for the second time this week, 13-1.

In honor of the 12 upcoming graduates, manager Scott Mendoza decided to set his lineup with all seniors. Adan Sanchez got the start on the mound with Isaiah Colunga behind the plate. “It was a good way to end the regular season,” Mendoza said. “All seniors started, all played, and all contributed.”

This proved to be an inspired choice. Colton jumped out on Fontana from the get, with Damian Valdez (2-for-4) cracking a double deep into left field. Anthony Aguayo (1-for-4) immediately brought Valdez home with an RBI single. Then after Donovan Mendoza (1-for-4) put a grounder past Fontana’s shortstop, Sanchez (3-for-4) came to the plate and hit a massive 3-run home run over the left field wall, putting the Yellowjackets up 4-0.

That offensive explosion continued with four more runs in the second inning, as Valdez, in his second at-bat, hit a solo home run. Then Sanchez launched another 2-run shot to center field to give Colton a 7-0 lead.

Sanchez could hardly contain his excitement about this dream game. “My dream is just to get a home run in my last game,” he said. “It happened. Then I got another one.”

From there, the Yellowjackets were never challenged. Sanchez pitched five shutout innings, giving up five hits against seven strikeouts.

Fontana scored their only run in the sixth inning on reliever Robert Valenzuela, who ran into a bit of trouble, walking in the run in a bases loaded situation. He bounced back, striking out the final two batters in the inning.

With this game being the final game of the season, the Yellowjackets finish 12-8 overall, third place in the San Andreas League behind Grand Terrace (13-14-1) and San Gorgonio (12-9). Now, the team will apply for a wild card playoff spot with CIF. Hopes are high that finishing with an overall record better than their league rivals will be enough to convince CIF officials to award the playoff appearance. About their chances, Mendoza added, “I think they’re good, but I’ve seen crazier things happen.”

Before the game, coach Michael Esquivel took to the mic and honored this year’s senior players: Anthony Aguayo, Sergio Alcala, Gilbert Alvarez, Kristapher Brumitt, Isaiah Colunga, Isaac Gutierrez, Sergio Lomeli, Donovan Mendoza, Reynaldo Muro, Jr., Adan Sanchez, Damian Valdez, and Robert Valenzuela. The players, accompanied by family, were presented with a bucket of gifts at home plate and a single flower to give to one of their family members.

About this group of seniors, Mendoza is proud. “A lot of them I’ve coached, or coached against since they were eight or nine years old. It’s a big group of them. I’m a little bit [emotional], but I hold it in. I’ll be more emotional when I see them walk and get their diploma.”

After the players were celebrated, state assemblyman for the 5th district, Joe Baca, Jr., presented a check for $1,000 to the baseball team to support the program. According to Baca in his speech, the father of senior Isaiah Colunga reached out to him to discuss the program and their needs. Baca was moved and wanted to give back, even though, as he shared, his own high school baseball team was beaten by Colton High back in 1987.