TEMECULA – In a nail-biting CIF Southern Section Division 7 baseball game that went into extra innings, the Rancho Christian Eagles faced off against the Buena Park Coyotes Friday, May 10. Despite a valiant effort and a game filled with suspense, the Eagles were edged out by the Coyotes with a final score of 10-8.

The game remained a close contest throughout, with both teams showcasing their tenacity and skill. Rancho Christian, a youthful team with not a single senior on their roster, demonstrated their impressive development over the season. Their commitment was on full display as they clawed back from a deficit to tie the game, only to succumb in the top of the ninth inning to Buena Park’s decisive two-run single by Jesus Ramirez.

Rancho Christian’s Timothy Loza (10) runs down a Buena Park base runner during CIF Playoff action. Valley News/Andrez Imaging

Rancho Christian’s journey to this point had been commendable, marking the deepest playoff run by any local prep baseball team this season. They took second place in the South Valley League and before this loss, which snapped their six-game winning streak, the Eagles had boasted a five-game home winning streak. Rancho Christian overcame opponents Vazquez, 11-1, and Banning, 7-5, in the first and second rounds, respectively.

From the start, the Eagles flew high with sophomore Spencer Horner launching a homer to center field, contributing to their early lead in the second inning. Teammates Dylan Cookson and AJ Garza also stepped up, driving in crucial runs. However, the team’s otherwise stalwart defense faltered slightly, allowing the Coyotes to even the score later in the game.

First baseman Spencer Homer (7) holds a runner from advancing during CIF-SS Division 7 playoff action Friday, May 10. Valley News/Andrez Imaging

On the mound, sophomore Sam Kinard started for the Eagles, displaying a solid performance despite the pressure. Manny Rivera took the hill for Buena Park, managing to prevent further damage despite the Eagles racking up 10 hits over the game. Sophomore second baseman, Kayson Kobayashi, in relief for Rancho Christian, showed promise but ultimately, walks and some untimely defensive errors from the Eagles proved costly in the decisive moments of the game.

“This is a special team, a young team, and a team nobody out there thought would get this far,” says head coach Tyler Wilson. “I’m so proud of what they were able to overcome this season to get to this point.”

Buena Park’s rally in the ninth inning was indicative of their successful season. Players like Neil Navarro, Cris Agredano, and Ramirez stepped up when it counted, helping secure their victory. Their win over Rancho Christian reflected a season of hard work, bringing their record to an impressive 24-6.

Catcher AJ Garza holds on to the ball after the tag for a Buena Park out. Valley News/Andrez Imaging

The Rancho Christian Eagles, though disheartened by the loss, have much to be proud of. Their remarkable run in the playoffs, fueled by standout performances from players like Cylis Proffitt, Landon Duguid, and Horner, has set the foundation for a promising future. The team’s young roster suggests we’ll see much more of their developing talent in seasons to come.

With the conclusion of this game, there are no remaining local high school baseball teams in the CIF Southern Section baseball playoffs. The local community now eagerly awaits all-league selections from each of the local leagues, hoping to celebrate the individual achievements from this season’s remarkable talent pool.

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JP Raineri
JP Raineri

JP is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and head of the Sports Department for the Valley News. Over his time in the Temecula Valley, JP, a former Southwestern League head baseball coach, was also an on-air radio personality at Q103.3, KATY 101.3, Hot 103.9, and was a television host for the Outdoor Channel. When not covering local, or national sports, JP also serves as an Associate Baseball Scout with NSR.