The Lancers’ baseball season came to an end after nearly getting shut out on the road by El Camino in a three-game series of the Super Regional Playoffs.
The Lancers had a rough start in game one when the Warriors scored 2 runs in the first inning followed by 5 runs against them in the second. With pitchers rotating nearly every inning, the Lancers were having trouble matching El Camino to keep the game alive.
Although second baseman Andres Kim drove in one run (2-for-5) at the top of the third for the Lancers, El Camino quickly responded to stay ahead. The momentum was definitely broken for PCC at that moment as their usually noisy dugout suddenly became silent.
“We had to put the past behind us and control what we could control, which was the given moment in time,” Kim said.
The Lancers’ defense improved as they held El Camino to a seven run lead when pitcher John Mendoza (normally a closer) came to the mound in the fifth inning and proceeded to have two shutout innings. Sergio Valenzuela then stepped in at the bottom seventh and shutout another two innings.
“Well I know I had a good defense behind me,” said Mendoza. “So I got out there and did what I had to do.”
Despite the recover, the offensive couldn’t get past El Camino’s powerhouse pitcher, Taylor Rashi. Rashi pitched the entire game, striking out nine Lancers and held them to one run over the final six innings. The final score was 8-1.
“Their pitcher was indomitable and we couldn’t get through,” Coach Pat McGee said. The second game will be the toughest and we are gonna get out there and do a better job than we did today.”
Unfortunately things didn’t turn around for the Lancers in game two. El Camino kept adding to the scoreboard while the Lancers struggled to respond. Relief pitcher Nick Esparza displayed strength as he pushed 5.2 innings and forced 9 strikeouts.
In the final two innings of the series the Lancers held on as Kim scored a solo home run and first baseman Jeremy Conant grounded a double play that brought in the final run to finish the game 9-2.
“As for us, the future is bright and this has been a great experience for everyone,” Kim said.
Lancers capped the season at 26-15, ranked 15th in the state and No. 7 seed in the South Coast Conference.