DOWNEY - Warren pitcher Andrew Arrona threw his first no-hitter in the third game of the Newport Elks Tournament against Los Amigos in a 6-0 win, Tuesday afternoon.Arrona made it look easy, striking out 13, including the final three outs in the game to claim his no-hitter, something that came as a surprise to him after the final out was recorded. "I didn't even know," Arrona said after the game. "[My teammates] told me right after and I said oh really? That's cool!" Striking out 13 is gravy, but the most impressive thing about the outing was Los Amigos never hit a ball hard with Arrona staying out of the upper part of the strike zone the entire game. Los Amigos never looked comfortable in the batter's box, constantly flailing at pitches and staying completely off balance. "I threw fastballs, hit my spots, and kept it low," Arrona said. "That's what my dad told me to do. That's what coach told me to do." Arrona stayed under 100 pitches to complete the feat and the only real threat to the no-no came in the fifth inning on a flair directly over Arrona that spun funny and stopped in the middle of the diamond. Warren second baseman Matthew Bareal was able to backhand the ball and throw out the batter to keep the no-hit bid in tact. "You saw he's a quality pitcher," Warren manager Paul Alvarez said. "He struggled a little bit at times with his control but for the most part, when he put the ball where we asked him to put it, good things were happening." Arrona was perfect through three innings and faced 12 batters through four innings, hitting the leadoff batter in the fourth inning but then picking him off. He started to get wilder in the fifth when he hit back-to-back batters, but recomposed himself to get out of the inning. The two hit batters raised flags to Alvarez who was planning on pulling him in the seventh inning until someone mentioned the no-hitter to him. "After the sixth had completed I had no idea [about the no-hitter]," he said. "I was focused on running the offense. I let my pitching coach do the work on the defensive side of the ball and when I was going to pull him out somebody mentioned he had a no-hitter going." Alvarez said that he looked at Arrona's pitch count and reasoned that he had plenty of bullets left to allow him to grab his first no-hitter. A hit batter, a wild pitch, and a stolen base later, Arrona had a runner on third threatening the shutout with the heart of the lineup coming up. Three straight strikeouts later, Arrona walked back to the dugout with his teammates waiting for him to congratulate him on the accomplishment. With the way Warren struggled at the plate in the early innings though, it might have taken a no-hitter to win the game. The Bears scored in the second, but really didn't seem comfortable in the first couple innings. "I think we were a little bit unfocused in t first three innings," Alvarez said. "We settled down after. We kind of started off not so much on the right foot. This is the nature of the beast when you have mostly underclassmen on the team." After the third inning, Alvarez's Bears scored at least a run in each frame. It comes without surprise that it was Arrona's bat that also helped him earn the win, going 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs. Warren's Aaron Chavez, Christian Rodriguez, and Brandon Volpe also had a pair of hits as well.
********** Published: March 10, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 47