FRESNO, Calif. – For the first time since 2010, El Camino College will make its way to Fresno for the 2017 California Community College Baseball State Championships.
The Warriors, the No. 5 seed in the Southern California bracket, head to Fresno after upending No. 1 seed Orange Coast College in the CCCAA Baseball Southern California Sectionals in three games, using a thrilling comeback win in game three to clinch their berth into the final four. The Warriors enter the final weekend of games with 39 victories and survived a first round series against No. 12 seeded Glendale in three games. They followed that series with a sweep over No. 7 seed Pasadena before surpassing OCC last week.
Offensively, the Warriors have batted .337 as a team during the postseason. They have outscored opponents 65-36 in the postseason and outhit the opposition 95-71 with a 26-11 edge in extra-base hits.
Catcher and leadoff hitter Trevor Casanova has been one of the hottest hitters in the 2017 postseason. He is currently batting .500 (17-for-34) in eight playoff games and is currently on a nine-game hitting streak. He's slugging .676 with a .585 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot and leads the team in the playoffs with 14 runs scored.
Connor Underwood has also picked up his production in the postseason and is in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak. In sectionals, Underwood led the Warriors offensively against the Pirates, batting 6-for-12 with a home run and team-high seven RBIs in the series. He drove in three runs in both Warriors victories at OCC and is now batting .467 (14-for-30) in the postseason.
On the mound, the Warriors pitching staff has recorded 57 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched during the playoffs. Taylor Rashi, the state's strikeout leader with 133 on the season, has fanned nearly a third of those batters in the playoffs, posting 25 strikeouts in 25 and 2/3 innings of work. Opponents are batting .228 against Rashi in the postseason and he's posted a 1.75 ERA, the best on the team.
The Warriors will be tested right out of the gates in Fresno as they take on the Northern California No. 2 seed and defending CCCAA State Champions Santa Rosa.
The Bear Cubs have had a similar road to Fresno as the Warriors, needing three games to win their opening series followed by a two-game sweep in round two and another three-game series in the sectionals. The Bear Cubs rank sixth in the state with a collective .314 batting average. Offensively, Santa Rosa is led by Ryder Kuhns, who is ranked second in the state with 15 home runs. On the mound, the pitching staff ranks 10th in the state with a 3.22 collective ERA and are led by Garrett Hill and Ryan Calderon, who are a combined 14-1 on the season.
In the other state final four matchup, Grossmont will face Ohlone after the Griffins swept past Long Beach City while the Renegades edged Sacramento City in three games.
Every game at this weekend's CCCAA State Championships will have live stats and a live video stream as well as photos, which will all be posted on ECCWarriors.com and at the CCCAA Tournament Central Homepage.