FRESNO – The right arm of Cole Van Den Helder was all the Orange Coast College baseball team needed as the Pirates topped Sacramento City College, 6-1, in Game 2 of the California Community College Athletic Association Baseball State Championships on Saturday at Fresno City College's John Euless Ballpark.
Van Den Helder (12-1) kept the Panthers off balance the entire afternoon and allowed just one run over eight-plus innings on seven hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. The sophomore righty went for a complete game in the ninth, but back-to-back baserunners to start things off ended his afternoon. Vince Inman came in to finish the job and enable the Pirates (36-8-1) advance to the winner's bracket, where they will take on El Camino.
With the loss, the Sacramento City (34-14) will have to go through the elimination portion of the bracket and will take on San Joaquin Delta. Times and dates are to be determined due to rain in the upcoming forecast. Log on to www.cccaasports.org for the latest schedule updates as they become available.
Coast used a single and pair of hit batsmen to load the bases in the bottom of the first and used a Panther miscue to grab the early advantage. A potential double-play ground ball was thrown away by Sac City catcher Kevin Saenz, which scored a pair of runs and gave Coast a 2-0 lead.
Another errant throw by Saenz on a stolen base opportunity enabled Coast to pick up a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third and that's where in stayed until the top of the sixth. There, a leadoff walk by Daniel Sayre and an errant pickoff attempt by Van Den Helder put the Panthers' leadoff hitter on third base. Anthony Gelati followed with a run-scoring grounder to first to put Sac City on the board. But Van Den Helder stepped up and limited the damage there, enabling the Pirates to extend their lead down the stretch.
A bases-loaded walk by Tyler Lasch in the bottom of the seventh made it 5-1 before Williams capped off the scoring with an RBI-single to left in the bottom of the eighth.
The top four batters in the OCC lineup reached base 13 times, but only five of those where via a base hit (five walks, three hit batters). Williams and Skylar Limonchi each had two hits and a run scored for the Pirates.
Sayre went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Panthers, while Nick Cirelli had a single and double in four at-bats.