Years from now when people look back on the 2018 baseball season for PCC, they will see a team that collapsed in the first round of the playoffs. What they will not see is a team that rallied to make the playoffs, even when the odds were against them.
Coming off a 2017 season where the Lancers made the playoffs for the first time in 50 years, head coach Pat McGee came into his fourth year looking to win the state championship.
“ was big for my players and myself,” coach McGee said. “All the sophomores had playoff experience, and were able to help guide my freshmen throughout the year.”
For PCC, this season proved to have more challenges than 2017. On April 5, the Lancers found themselves in the midst of a of a six game losing streak and under .500. Last year, the team never lost more than two games in a row.
“I don’t remember the specifics of what was going wrong for us,” McGee said. “My team knew they were too good to be playing that way.”
PCC was able to turn it around, winning five of their next eight games, and entered the last series of the season with their playoff hopes still alive. For the Lancers to make the playoffs for a second year in a row, some contingencies had to occur. PCC had to win their series against Rio Hondo, East LA could not win their series against Mt. San Antonio, and Chaffey had to lose at least one of their remaining three games.
Fortunately for the Lancers, the baseball gods were on their side, and everything fell into place. PCC was able to sweep Rio Hondo, Chaffey won two out of three, and East LA split their series, allowing Coach McGee and his team to slip in the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Unfortunately for the Lancers, their postseason was short lived, after losing the series to Glendale Community College.
“Obviously we wanted to win the series,” McGee said. “But sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. But this team was special. This was the first time PCC went to the playoffs back to back since the 1967-1968 team.”
Race Gardner, who played in both of the playoff seasons, plans to transfer to the University of Hawaii-Hilo in the fall on a scholarship. He plans on using his experience here at PCC and using it going forward.
“I learned to be consistent and get into a comfortable routine throughout the game,” Gardner said. “It is key for me as a pitcher to stay solid all season, and I hope to use my knowledge from PCC and use it at Hilo.”
Gardner was one of the standout pitchers for PCC during his time here. He finished with a modest overall record of 11-6, and a 3.80 ERA in 2018. Gardner doesn’t regret anything during his time with the Lancers.
“It was fun to be a part of a good group of guys, and I wish them all the best.” Gardner said.
Coach McGee and his coaching staff hope to make the playoffs for a third year in a row in 2019, which would be a first for PCC.