A recurring theme seems to be developing for the PCC baseball team as one nightmare inning of a game once again lead to a complete derailment for the Lancers.
The latest example came in the seventh inning in a 15-1 blowout loss to visiting East Los Angeles College on Tuesday night, March 4.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning in their South Coast Conference opener, the Lancers kept up with a very talented ELAC Huskies baseball squad most of the game. PCC stayed in striking distance, down only 4-0. But the Huskies finally were able to capitalize off walked batters and errors by the Lancers in the seventh inning. The Huskies would get hit after hit off Lancer sophomore pitchers Tim Shiba and Robert Urias with an 11-run onslaught to completely distance themselves from the Lancers on Tuesday night.
“It’s a matter of self-confidence, self-actualization and not stabbing the knife in their own backs,” said head coach Evan O’Meara. “The pitchers need to be able to overcome adversity and not pour gas on the fire.”
The Lancers also ran in to trouble in the bottom of the fifth inning when the game was still scoreless. With the bases loaded and nobody out, PCC botched a perfect double play opportunity. On a weak ground ball hit to Lancer freshman third baseman Eric Grajeda, he fielded the ball cleanly but could not get a force out at home.
Grajeda’s throw targeted for sophomore catcher Jason Clark’s glove hit the ELAC runner in the back of the helmet, causing the ball to ricochet wildly and allowing two Husky runners to score. The disruption of a potential home-to-first double play was a huge missed opportunity.
“The perfect ball hit back to Grajeda at third, but we couldn’t create a lane to get an out right there,” said O’Meara. “It’s fundamental baseball. You need to simply play catch.”
Until the fifth inning when he got in to trouble, Lancer freshman starting pitcher Jason Marquez had pitched a brilliant game. He threw four scoreless innings before heading into the bottom of the fifth.
“He did great for five innings and then got a little frustrated,” said O’Meara on Marquez. “He throws too many sequences like that where he gets behind in the count, which results in a hitter’s count.”
Despite the nightmare seventh inning and the lack of offense, the Lancers found some positives. Freshman center fielder P.J. DeZotell had another multiple hit game, while freshman first baseman Nick Perez smacked a triple to left field. The Lancers only run came off the bat of freshman right fielder Steven San Miguel, whose RBI single gave him four RBI on the season.
Earlier this year, San Miguel had an impressive stretch where he had four games in a row where he had at least two hits. One of the games included a walk-off double in a 5-4 win over Cerro Coso College on Saturday, Feb. 8.
The Lancers will try to redeem themselves in the second game of the series at home against ELAC on Thursday, March 6. The game will be held at Jackie Robinson Memorial Field with the first pitch at 2 p.m. They will then finish the first series of SCC play on Saturday, March 8 at noon visiting ELAC.