The long wait is over, Pasadena baseball captured their first conference title in 50 years after a thrilling 14-12 road victory at Mt Sac. The victory clinched sole possession of first place in the South Coast Conference North Division.
The jubilant Lancers celebrated the feat by showering head coach Pat McGee with a ten-gallon jug of Gatorade.
The Lancers started the game slow and off balance as Mounties’ pitcher Jacob Castillo struck out eight batters while only giving up five hits and one run through the first six innings.
Pasadena then exploded offensively by scoring a combined 13 runs in the 7th and 8th innings and held off a late surge by the Mt. Sac offense in the bottom of the 9th inning.
The win was Pasadena’s sixth consecutive conference win and 23rd overall. In the two previous seasons under McGee’s reign, the Lancers won a combined 23 games.
“The fact that we got walked off on [April 4th at Rio Hondo], it’s never fun to lose that way,” said shortstop Alex Briggs. “It lit a fire underneath us and ever since then we’ve really been getting after it.”
Pasadena collected a season-high 19 total hits and pounded out 14 hits over the last three innings, with every player recording at least one hit and reaching base at least twice during the game.
“That win had everything that this team has been about all year long,” said coach McGee. “We struggled early offensively and then we put some at-bats together and we had to rebound with our pitching. We had adversity with bad calls, bad umpiring, and things not going our way but a good team finds a way to get it done.”
Leading the way for the Lancers offensively were designated hitter Anthony Fickewirth, first baseman Jeremy Conant and third baseman Jose Jimenez, who all had three hits in the game.
With Conant going 3 for 6, he raised his batting average to .449 and with two games remaining, Conant will likely be SCC’s batting champion.
Pasadena also hit a season-high four triples on the afternoon.
“We battled today. We did start slow and made mistakes but this team competes,” said Fickewirth. “My approach hasn’t changed all year and today I was successful and helped contribute to our team victory.”
The win was credited to sophomore relief pitcher Sergio Valenzuela who entered the game in the 5th inning and pitched two effective innings. Valenzuela improved to (4-2) on the season.
The series heads back to Brookside Park at 2:30 pm on Thursday for Pasadena’s final regular season home game as the Lancers look to win their seventh consecutive conference game.