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Riverside City College baseball team wins fifth state title

Riverside City Tiger, Hayden Coon, 40, pitched a strong first three innings retiring seven consecutive batters, but was pulled in the top of the fourth after allowing three runs. Tigers beat the Cypress Chargers 10-5 in game 3 of the rubber match of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern Regional round two. Tigers look to advance to the state championships for the first time since 2008. Photo By Stephen Day, Viewpoints

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By Jair Ramirez

Down 0-3, a team built for this scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

Down 7-5, a team built for this scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a commanding lead and capture the California Community College Athletic Association State Championship.

The Riverside City College Tigers — who defeated the Folsom Lake College Falcons 10-8 to claim their fifth CCCAA state championship, and their first since 2007 — were built for this.

“We were built for this” has been the team’s motto throughout the season and the team persevered once again, trailing through most of the game, only to come back.

“We were built for this, it started from the very beginning,” head coach Rudy Arguelles said in a post game interview.

“We did it because we’re going to be built, we’re going to be prepared.”

RCC swept just two season series but only lost one in their up and down season. In the midst of ups and downs, and following a pandemic, there was also a level of consistency. 

“We had to do some real, real soul searching and there was a lot of scenarios and situations with individuals and what not that we had to spend extra time outside of the game,”  Arguelles said.

Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the eight inning, freshman shortstop Sebastian Flores hit a game tying double down the third baseline.

With two outs, outfielder Matthew Bardowell drove in Flores to give RCC back the lead.

Center fielder Julian Alvarez singled up the middle with runners on second and third to give the Tigers a three run lead going into the ninth inning. 

“My family, the passion for this game and the love I have for every single one of these guys,” Alvarez said. “That’s exactly why we’re here and exactly why we’re holding up that championship right now.”

Alvarez was named series Most Valuable Player.

The Falcons scored a run in the top of the ninth inning after a couple of RCC mishaps in the infield.

With a couple runners on, freshman pitcher Albert Roblez managed to strike out the winning run to complete the save. 

Arguelles was a part of the teams’ four previous championships as an assistant coach. This is his first as head coach.

“Who knows when the next one is going to be but we’re going to enjoy this one right now,” Arguelles said.  

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