COSTA MESA -- It's a return trip to Fresno for the Orange Coast College baseball team as the top-seeded Pirates defeated Mt. San Antonio, 15-1, on Saturday in Game 2 of the Southern California Sectional playoffs, played at Wendell Pickens Field.
With the win, the Pirates (35-8-1) will be the No. 1 seed out of Southern California at next week's California Community College Athletic Association Baseball State Championships, located at Fresno City College's John Euless Ballpark. If tradition holds, the Pirates will host the winner of Sunday's Sacramento City/Ohlone matchup on Saturday at 6 p.m.
OCC jumped in front of the eighth-seeded Mounties (26-20) and never let up as the Pirates jumped out to a 9-0 lead after three innings and scored in every inning, minus the sixth and ninth frames.
"I'm super proud of these guys with how they competed today and never let up," OCC head coach John Altobelli said. "We are excited to be going back to Fresno for the second year in a row and hopefully play our best baseball of the season at the right time."
Coast pounded out 16 hits and had six players with multi-hit games on Saturday, including Jacob Gentry, who went 4-for-5 with a run and three RBI, followed by Murphy Stehly (2-for-4, two runs, three RBI), David Morgan (2-for-4, two runs), Davis Delorefice (2-for-5, two runs, one RBI), Skylar Limonchi (2-for-6, three runs) and Tommy Williams (2-for-4, two runs). Tyler Lasch reach base four times, scored three runs and drove in three runs as well.
That offensive production was MORE than enough support for freshman lefty Michael Ryhlick (4-1), who held the Mounties to just one run on three hits with five strikeouts over six innings. Relievers Kevin Ishimaru, Ben Davis and Vince Inman each pitched scoreless innings the rest of the way to help finish off the series and return the Pirates to the State Final Four for the eighth time in Altobelli's coaching tenure. OCC will be shooting for seventh state title in school history (1956, 1960, 1980, 2009, 2014, 2015) and the 94th overall state title in school history.
The fun began right from the opening inning as the "visiting" Pirates loaded the bases with one out, courtesy of a Limonchi walk, a Williams single and a Lasch walk. Stehly followed up with a double into the left-center field gap, scoring all three runs to put the Pirates up, 3-0.
After a quick 1-2-3 frame from Ryhlick, the bats continued to inflict damage. With Limonchi on third and Williams on second, Delorefice lined a single up the middle to make it 4-0 before a wild pitch scored Williams two batters later to make it 5-0. Gentry then capped off the four-run frame with a two-run single to center and before the Mounties had their fourth player bat in the game, Coast was ahead, 7-0.
Lasch came through with a two-run single in the top of the third and with OCC up, 9-0, the game already felt out of reach. A single run in the fourth, two more in the fifth, another two runs in the seventh and one final tally in the eighth capped off the Pirate barrage for the afternoon.