The Lancers division-leading baseball team won a thrilling extra inning conference game 7-6 over LA Harbor College on Tuesday at Brookside Park.
The Lancers, who committed a season high of five errors and were out-hit by the Seahawks, rallied back from a 6-1 deficit in the bottom of the 9th inning with the help of erratic Harbor pitching that unprecedentedly hit four batters with the bases loaded to take the game into extra innings.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, the Lancers finished off Harbor for the walkoff victory.
“We played crappy for the first 51 outs of the game,” head coach Pat McGee said. “The turning point was [when LA Harbor’s] pitching fell apart and our guys were disciplined and stopped swinging the bats.”
Pitcher Jesse Hanckel, who started the game for the Lancers, breezed through the first five innings. Costly throwing errors by Pasadena’s defense in the sixth inning gave Harbor College the momentum and a 6-1 lead that forced coach McGee to go to his bullpen.
Down 6-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Pasadena loaded the bases with no outs when third baseman Jose Jimenez hit a hard single up the middle driving in Jeremy Conant to start the rally as the Lancers inched closer, trailing at 6-2.
With bases still loaded and no outs, batters Jesse Garcia, Brett Wheat, Andres Kim, and Alex Briggs were all hit by pitches, bringing in four runs and tying the game 6-6, also bringing the game into extra innings.
In the top half of the 10th inning with runners in scoring position, the pressure was on for relief pitcher Sergio Valenzuela.
After a brief visit on the mound by coach McGee, Valenzuela finished the inning unscathed for the Lancers when Harbor pinch hitter Anthony Garcia popped up to the center field to attempt to end the threat.
“My curveball was really working for me today,” Valenzuela said. “We fought back. Our pitching did good late in the game and we starting making the plays to put us in a position to come back and win this game.”
In the bottom of the 10th inning Seahawks pitcher Jacob Criss made errors on consecutive plays on balls hit by outfielders John Bicos and Shane Ogata.
With no outs and the Lancers’ dugout in a frenzy, Harbor’s pitcher balked, automatically advancing Bicos and Ogata to second and third base.
Looking to drive in a winning run with Jimenez up to bat for Pasadena, a wild pitch by a Seahawks catcher allowed Bicos to stroll into home plate as the Lancers’ players stormed the field in celebration for the dramatic 7-6 victory.
“My approach was to look for something away and go opposite field to get Bicos to second,” Ogata said. “I think as a whole we were very patient today and we took what they gave us. Patience is what kept us in it.
The win was credited to Pitcher Sergio Valenzuela who improved his record to 3-1 in 11 appearances for the Lancers. The win keeps the team tied in a three way battle in the SCC North with Chaffey College and Rio Hondo who are all even at 7-5.
Pasadena hits the road Thursday and look to defeat the Seahawks again as the series shifts to LA Harbor College at 2:30 p.m.