By Jair Ramirez
The 2019 Orange Empire Conference Pitcher of the Year Garrett Irvin helped lead the Riverside City College baseball team to a 32-12 record.
“I was really excited,” said Irvin on winning the award. “It’s crazy because there’s a lot of good pitchers in this conference this year and every game felt like a dog fight. There was a lot of good arms in this conference that definitely had a shot to beat me out this year.”
Good defense and strong pitching helped the Tigers to have such a solid season.
Leading the team in pitching was Norco native and sophomore lefty ace Garrett Irvin.
Irvin finished the season 10-2 with a 2.25 ERA in 15 starts.
“Trust your defense and everything will work itself out if you keep on grinding and keep doing your thing every day,” Irvin said.“You can’t take any days off, you can’t take it for granted at the end of the day.”
Garrett is following his father’s footsteps in his career and in the love for the game.
“My dad growing up always played baseball, he played all the way through college,” said Irvin. “So as soon as I was born he brought me straight into baseball and put a baseball in my hand and I just immediately loved it just like he did, he was a lefty pitcher too so we have a lot in common.”
He also credits his father as the most influential person in his baseball career.
“He taught me my curveball and he taught me how to be the man on the mound and not have any fear,” he said. “He’s definitely the most influential person I have in my baseball career, I owe a lot to him.”
Irvin doesn’t only play baseball for the love and fun of it, he also uses it as a way to relax.
“It takes you away from everything outside baseball, I think a lot of kids specially at this stage are going to school and trying to balance baseball and education together,” Irvin said.
“Being on the baseball field four hours out of the day, it’s nice to not have to worry about your homework or what’s going on at home, you can just go out on the field and try to get better at the sport you’ve been playing since you were eight.”
Irvin finished with a conference high 98 strikeouts with his offensive approach on the mound.
“My mindset is probably similar to a hitters in regards to I want to beat them, I take it a little bit personal when they get a hit or I walk a guy,” said Irvin.
“I try to have a mind set of, I’m better than you and I’m not going to let you beat me in any way possible.”
Garrett’s leadership on and off the field helped the Tigers reach the Super Regional round in the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs.
“He’s the optimum teammate, you see his personality, his characteristics, he’s free spirited, he turns into a different individual from a competitive standpoint when the ball is put in his hands, that’s what makes him great,” said RCC coach Rudy Arguelles.
“He’s selfless, he contributes, he wants success for everybody not just for him, from a teammate’s standpoint he’s outstanding and he’ll be able to fit into any clubhouse and program he’s a part of.”
Garrett always had a feeling he would play for coach Arguelles, “I’ve known him since I was in high school and it was never about if I went to (junior college) where would I go,” said Irvin on playing for coach Arguelles.
“It was always, if I play JC ball it’s going to be with coach Arguelles. He jokes around but when it’s really go time you can see the competitive side in him, it’s fun just playing behind him.”
Outside of baseball Garrett Irvin enjoys the outdoors and going to the movies, “I go snowboarding a lot, I guess baseball kind of interferes with that just because of the injury factor, so I don’t go that much anymore,” he said.
I’m a big movie guy, I like going to the movies every week and going to the lake, going wakeboarding and anything outdoors, I just like being outdoors a lot, but I’m a big movie guy too.”
Irvin will be attending the University of Arizona next year,
“The heights he has the ability to achieve within the game are going to be up to him,” said Arguelles.
“I foresee as long as he stays on the path he’s on right now, really stays diligent from the mental side, physical side, working with a purpose each and every day, which he’s embracing, I can see Garrett’s future in Major League Baseball.”