RIVERSIDE -- Thanks to Friday's 12-5 win over Riverside City College on Friday afternoon, the Orange Coast College baseball team clinched the outright Orange Empire Conference title for the second year in a row and will be the No. 2 seed for this year's Southern California Regional playoffs, which kick off on Friday at Wendell Pickens Field.
Coby Kauhaahaa went 4-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Ramiro Velasco went 2-for-4 with a home run, a run scored and three RBI for the Pirates (27-13, 15-6 in OEC), who won back-to-back conference titles for the first time in 31 seasons.
"It's been an up-and-down season for sure, but I'm very proud of these guys for battling through to get to where we are now," OCC head coach John Altobelli said. "We've had some injuries and some moments of streaky play, but when we are clicking on all cylinders, I like the make-up of this team and when it comes to the playoffs, we need to play our best baseball in the weeks to come.
"To win this conference is a feat all its own. It's the toughest conference in the state and to be able to do it back-to-back years says a lot about the character of this team and our sophomores who made it happen. We came close last year to the State Final Four -- hopefully we can make it over the hump this year."
Velasco's home run -- his team-leading fifth of the season -- was a two-run shot in the seventh inning that helped propel OCC's run-scoring barrage in the final three innings.
Starter Cameron Jabara notched his fifth win of the season without a loss, allowing just two runs on nine hits with five strikeouts over seven innings. Coast led 4-1 after six innings before battering the Tigers' bullpen with eight runs over the final three innings.
With the win, Coast earned a No. 2 seed in the upcoming Southern California Regional playoffs. OCC will host No. 15 Cuesta in a best-of-three series beginning on Friday at 2 p.m. at Wendell Pickens Field.
Game one for OCC will take place on Friday at 2 p.m. at Wendell Pickens Field. Game 2 will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday with a third game immediately to follow Game 2, if necessary.
This is the 13th appearance in the playoffs over the past 14 seasons for the Pirates, who are going for their seventh state baseball title in school history (1956, 1960, 1980, 2009, 2014, 2015). This year's OEC crown is also the 19th conference baseball title in school history.