Birmingham's Johan Ceja delivers walk-off single for trip to Dodger Stadium

·2 min read

Birmingham couldn't put down a bunt, couldn't field a bunt and had three runners picked off first. And yet, the Patriots are headed to the City Section Open Division championship game at Dodger Stadium after pulling out a 2-1 win over El Camino Real on Wednesday night at USC when Johan Ceja delivered a walk-off single.

The heroes for Birmingham were Ceja and sophomore JB Dalumpines, a junior varsity player during the regular season who contributed an RBI triple in the fifth inning while pinch-hitting for Ceja in his second-ever varsity at-bat to break a 0-0 deadlock.

Birmingham will play Chatsworth on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dodger Stadium seeking its eighth City title.

"Sometimes things don't go our way, but we got the victory," Ceja said.

El Camino Real was able to tie the score at 1-1 in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded hit batter. Earlier, Birmingham failed to handle two bunts in the inning, giving El Camino Real the chance to tie. A double play ended the Royals' threat.

In the bottom of the seventh, a tiring Oscar Lopez gave up a leadoff single to Robert Pitts. After a fly out and walk, Ernesto Martinez singled, putting runners on first and third. Braden Sellz replaced Lopez. Ceja came through with a single to right field to end the game.

Birmingham coach Matt Mowry said he was not surprised by Dalumpines' clutch at-bat.

"We've been seeing him the last 10 days in intrasquad games and batting practice," he said. "He's really impressed the coaches."

Daniel Flores threw a complete game for Birmingham. Lopez retired 10 batters in a row between the first and fifth innings for El Camino Real.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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