By Austin Turner
Riverside City College had its baseball season cut short on May 12 as the Tigers fell to Orange Coast College in the California Community College Athletic Association Super Regional Playoffs.
It took only two games for the Orange Coast College Pirates to knock off the Tigers, taking a thrilling pitchers duel in game one 2-1. They finished off the quick series in game two 11-6.
Game one was a low scoring affair with both starting pitchers throwing eight innings, allowing only five hits each.
RCC’s starter Daniel Martinez was remarkable. Both of Orange Coast’s runs were unearned, as Martinez struck out seven Pirates without allowing any walks, with a single hit batter. The superb performance ended a brilliant year on the mound for Martinez. He finished the season with a 7-4 record and a 2.51 earned run average.
The Ohtani-like sophomore also put up a solid performance at the plate, hitting a double in the fourth inning. Martinez’s numbers at the plate were impressive over the season. He sported a .297 batting average and scored 29 runs.
Unfortunately for the Tigers in game one, Michael Giacone was on the mound for the Pirates and he was dominant. His first seven innings pitched were mistake-free baseball.
In the eighth inning, RCC threatened to tie the ballgame with a runner on third, however the rally ended abruptly when RCC’s Daniel Martinez was caught trying to advance home from third base on a single from teammate Joseph Hodapp.
The wheels came off for RCC in game two, as the Pirates led 8-0 after five innings.
Pirates first baseman Domenic Donato led the offensive onslaught, putting up a 3-for-5 performance while driving in four runs.
The Tigers added three runs in the sixth inning and another in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough.
The Pirates added on three more insurance runs in the eighth to take an 11-4 lead, before finishing the Tigers off for an 11-6 final.
The Pirates used the second round sweep of RCC to continue their hot streak in the CCCAA playoffs. Following the set against RCC, they blew out El Camino in consecutive games to advance to the CCCAA State Baseball Championships in Fresno.
The Pirates are among the last four teams remaining and will compete for the state title in a three day tournament, from May 26-28.
The loss ended the season for RCC, who finished with a final record of 27-17.
The season, while ending with a brutal series, was a great one. Six Tigers earned all-conference honors, including first-team Shane Martinez, the superb defensive shortstop and slugger.
Orange Empire Conference second-teamers for the Tigers include pitchers David Barela and Alexander Salazar, outfielder Junior Coleman, infielder Jacob Rodriguez and pitcher/infielder Daniel Martinez.
The Tigers have a solid young core to build around as they look to improve and advance further in the CCCAA playoffs next season.