Baseball Starts SCC Season With 3-2 Win Over Harbor
The Pasadena City College baseball team used patience and a couple of strategic moves by head coach Evan O'Meara to help pull out a 3-2 win over Los Angeles Harbor College Tuesday afternoon in the South Coast Conference opener for both squads. The game was played at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Memorial Field.
In the bottom of the ninth, catcher Corey Richards singled to center and was sacrificed to second base by Lancers' centerfielder Charles Smith. O'Meara sent in pinch runner Tarik El Abour and the speedy sophomore went to third on a balk by Harbor reliever Anthony Konders. Shortstop Josh Clark drew a walk sending up Bobby Fraijo. The freshman second baseman worked the count on Harbor reliever Larry Brown and then squibbed a grounder to the right side. With Harbor's second baseman Robert Hurtado playing back, El Abour easily scored from third for the walk-off victory. PCC's players mobbed Fraijo in the post-game celebration (see photo).
The Lancers rallied from down 2-0 in the eighth inning. With two outs, designated hitter Cameron Silva and first baseman David Halstead received back-to-back walks against Harbor reliever Hector Avila. O'Meara then sent in Cody Van-Es as a pinch hitter and the freshman delivered, lining a double to center that tied it at 2-2. Van-Es' hit was an unfortunate decision by Seahawks centerfielder Alex Layton, who could have played the ball for a single but instead chose to dive for the ball in short center. Layton's attempt allowed Halstead to score all the way from first.
In the top of the ninth, with runners on second and third and two outs, O'Meara made the decision to intentionally walk Harbor's No. 3 lefty hitter Nicholas Ridio to load the bases. That sent up right-handed hitter Jordan Espino who flew out to center as PCC righty reliever Jamie La Pointe worked out of the jam. La Pointe picked up the victory.
The late-inning heroics overshadowed a brilliant pitching duel between PCC knuckleballer Tim Shiba and Harbor lefty Jonathan Hernandez. Shiba and Hernandez had a double shutout going after six innings. Shiba allowed two unearned runs in the seventh and finished allowing just four hits over seven innings. Hernandez scattered eight hits over seven innings and kept PCC off-balance on both the basepaths (two pickoffs on back-to-back baserunners in the fifth) and at the plate with a sharp breaking ball.
PCC kept the damage at two runs in the seventh thanks to a gun out at home by rightfielder Anthony Martinez who launched a perfect one-hop throw to Richards after a basehit to nab Nolan Meadows sliding at the plate.
"We did a good job of being patient at the plate, drawing some key walks later in the game," O'Meara said. "We did our usual routine of making it hard on ourselves with some shoddy defense (five errors) and not being able to move runners over with poor bunting. But we did get a good bunt by Smith that help set up the winning run. Our pitching was outstanding, especially Shiba, who has been an ace for us all year."
Shiba, Spencer Stute, who threw one shutout inning in the eighth, and La Pointe combined to allow only six hits and no earned runs over the nine innings. On offense, Halstead was 2-for-3 while Richards went 2-for-4. The Lancers totaled 10 hits.
The two teams continue their 3-game series on Thursday, March 7 in a 2 p.m. first pitch at LA Harbor (weather permitting). PCC is 3-10 overall and Harbor stands at 3-10-1.
[Photo--Lancer Bobby Fraijo (on ground right, next to David Halstead, 55) is piled on by his teammates following his game-winning, walk-off RBI Tuesday at Brookside Park, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]