One Step Closer: Warriors Face Top-Seeded Orange Coast in Sectionals

Photo by Bill Hood
Photo by Bill Hood

TORRANCE, Calif. – El Camino College is one step away from advancing to the California Community College Baseball State Championships for the first time since 2010. The Warriors will need to get past No. 1 seed Orange Coast College to get there as the two teams square off in the CCCAA Baseball Southern California Sectionals beginning Friday at 2 p.m. at OCC.

The Warriors and Pirates were two of the top teams in the state this year with the Warriors holding on to the No. 1 Ranking in the California Community College Sports Information Association Top-20 rankings for much of the later part of the regular season before faltering late.

The Pirates entered the postseason as the No. 1 overall seed in Southern California and rolled through their opening round series against Southwestern, sweeping the series and outscoring the Jaguars 16-2 in two games.

They had to deal with some adversity in the next round though, as the Santa Ana Dons came into OCC and stole game one of the series with a 3-1 decision, the first time since April 13 that the Pirates were held to one or fewer runs in a game.

But the Pirates responded, taking game two 5-1 and then running away with game three, 9-4.

As for the Warriors, they went the distance in their opening series against Glendale before dispatching the Vaqueros in a wild game three, scoring a 20-8 win to advance.

In the second round, ECC dispatched of South Coast Conference-North Division champions Pasadena in dominant fashion, sweeping the Lancers and outscoring them 17-3 in the series.

Catcher Trevor Casanova has been red hot in the postseason and scorched the Lancers in the previous round, going 7-for-9 (.778) in the two-game series against Pasadena, scoring six runs with a double and one RBI and posting a 1.707 OPS. In five postseason games, Casanova is batting .550 (11-for-20) with 10 runs scored, two doubles, one home run and four RBI with a 1.454 OPS.

As a team, the Warriors are batting .330 in five postseason games and have outscored their opponents 42-18, outhitting the opposition 59-35 and posting a collective .330/.436/.428 slash line.

Connor Underwood and Cody Wissler are each hitting better than .400 in the playoffs, going a combined 17-for-39 with seven runs scored, nine RBIs and three doubles.

On the mound, right-hander Taylor Rashi has been spectacular in two starts, tossing a pair of complete games and posting a 0.50 ERA in 18 innings. He's fanned 19 batters while allowing opponents to hit at a .159 clip.

As a team, the Warriors pitching staff have fanned 38 batters and allowed opponents to hit .215.

Game one of the series is Friday at 2 p.m. with game two taking place Saturday at 1 p.m. If necessary, a winner-take-all game three will take place Sunday at 12 p.m.

On the other side of the Southern California bracket, No. 2 seed Grossmont faces No. 4 seed Long Beach City.

In Northern California, No. 2 seed Santa Rosa faces No. 5 seed San Joaquin Delta in one sectional matchup while No. 3 Ohlone hosts No. 4 Sacramento City in the other sectional series.

The CCCAA Baseball State Championships will take place Saturday-Monday, May 27-29 at Fresno City College.