The Palm Desert Aztec baseball program is headed to Dodger Stadium for the CIF-SS Division 2 Championship. It was a three-run home run hit from senior Jeremiah Estrada that sealed the deal.
"The first second I didn’t think it was going to go,” UCLA commit Jeremiah Estrada explained. “I just threw my bat and took like half a second, about to sprint the bases, and then I realized the ball was still in the air. I was just like okay, please get out. To see the guys run the bases, jumping up and down, and shaking coach’s hand running first and third base. Coming back home and seeing them waiting for me, it’s just an exciting moment and unforgettable moment."
"After he made contact I said that’s it,” Palm Desert head coach Dale Salazar said. “Then when he came in after I said one more inning and you’re going to hold this lead. He said okay coach."
The Aztecs did exactly that, taking down Capistrano Valley 4-3 in the semifinals and now the team is headed to Dodger Stadium.
"When you walk in there, it’s like a cathedral, all the tall walls,” Salazar explained. “But they have to realize it’s the same baseball field we’re playing on right here (Palm Desert). I’m going to get them there early so they can get used to that."
Aztec senior and USC commit Jonathan Cuevas was on the mound to earn the semifinal win and lead the team in hits going 3 for 4.
"I’ve been playing with these guys since I was young,” Cuevas explained. “Just to know that we’re going to go to Dodger Stadium and playing there, it’s a great feeling."
“I’ve always wanted to be a Dodger,” Estrada explained. “I’ve always wanted to play at Dodger stadium, every time I go to Dodger Stadium I’ll always be like dad I want to play here, I want to be on that mound."
Estrada will fulfill that dream on the mound for the Aztecs this Friday. It’s Palm desert against Etiwanda on Friday. Opening pitch is at 4pm. Tickets are $15 for adults. $7 for students and kids. All tickets can be purchased at Dodger Stadium.
It’s the fifth time in program history the Aztecs have advanced to the championship and will be playing for their third title. KMIR Sports’ Amy Zimmer will be at Dodger Stadium with live coverage.