The Long Beach City College baseball team has been on a tear of late with its most recent triumph coming in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Regional Playoffs by defeating the Saddleback College Gauchos in a best-of-three series to advance to the Super Regionals. The Vikings will host a three-game series against the L.A. Mission College Eagles at home with the first game slated for Friday, May 12th at 2 p.m.
The series will continue on Saturday, May 13th at 1 p.m. and finish off on Sunday, May 14th at noon if a third game is necessary. All games will be live stated through www.lbccvikings.com. Ticket prices are $12 for general admission and $8 for all students, staff, and faculty with a valid ID. All games will be played at Joe Hicks Memorial Stadium.
The Vikings faced off against L.A. Mission earlier in the season and routed them by the final score of 18-4. The top of the order did the majority of the damage as freshman outfielder Val Stammler (Long Beach, CA) sophomore shortstop Antonio Monroy (Maywood, CA), freshman third baseman Reese Berberet (Long Beach, CA), and sophomore first baseman Vincent Byrd II (Sacramento, CA) went a combined 11-for-20 with 11 RBI and eight runs scored. Stammler was a homerun shy of the cycle, while freshman outfielder Zach Martinez (Long Beach, CA) and Berberet each blasted homeruns.
In a three-game series against Saddleback, the Vikings faced elimination twice after dropping the opening game of the series by the final score of 2-1. Long Beach battled back to hold the Gauchos to one run in two games while scoring five runs in each contest with the perfect concoction of pitching, offense, and defense.
The pitching staff allowed just three runs in three games against the Gauchos with one run being unearned. The starting rotation has been downright dominant of late as freshman Jacob Gregg (Long Beach, CA) will likely take the mound for the series opener on Friday. Freshman Josh Agnew (Long Beach, CA) will hit the bump Saturday if the rotation remains true, backed by sophomore starter Schuyler Hill (Long Beach, CA) in game three.
Gregg picked up the loss in the Friday evening game despite allowing just one earned run in his first-career complete game while punching out four batters. In his previous two starts, Gregg has gone six plus innings while allowing just three runs total. Furthermore, he has earned a pair of wins while fanning 11 total batters in his last four appearances.
Agnew has highlighted the pitching staff since day one with precision around the plate complimented by a filthy arsenal. He leads the team with nine wins and posts an impressive 2.19 ERA in 107 innings pitched. His last two outings have been unfair to opposing offenses as he has tossed back-to-back complete-game shutouts while only giving up 11 total hits. He has pitched to contact and used his defense, but has struck out four batters in each appearance.
With runs coming at a premium unlike the series sweep over El Camino College (41 total runs in three games), the Vikings recovered in the final two games of the SoCal Regional series and hit well with runners in scoring position. Freshman second baseman Tyler Wilber (Los Alamitos, CA) came through on two separate occasions in the morning game by going 2-for-3 with two RBI knocks. He went 1-for-3 in the following game as well.
Berberet was impressive in the third game of the series by coming up with a clutch two-RBI base hit up the middle in the fifth inning to break a tie. Stammler launched his fourth round-tripper of the season in the ninth inning as well.
L.A. Mission is led by sophomore infielder Alex Devito. He has launched 11 homeruns and driven in 53 RBI en route to a .335 batting average. He has amassed 53 total hits as well. Freshman infielder Tyler Grissom backs him with a .357 batting average and barreled 55 this and scored 37 runs.
Sophomore Gonzalo Rios helms the pitching staff with a 9-3 record in 63.2 innings pitched. Sophomore Anthony Donatella boasts a 7-3 record with a team-pacing 68 strikeouts and a 2.57 ERA. He has thrown four complete games as well. Freshman Jesse Galindo handles the backend of the pitching duties and has recorded three saves.