by Dave Silverstein
FRESNO – John Euless Ballpark in Fresno is looking to be a great second home field for Orange Coast College, who captured their second straight California Community College Athletic Association state championship on Monday when they defeated San Joaquin Delta College, 9-4 on Monday.
The state title is the sixth in the program's history (1956, 1960, 1980, 2009, 2014, 2015) and third in the last seven years. Over the course of their two-year state title run, the Pirates have posted an 18-2 record in the post-season.
The Pirates (30-17), who swept through the tournament in three games, put eight runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning to erase an early 2-0 deficit against the Mustangs (41-7), who were trying to come back to win four straight games after dropping their opener, 5-0 to Orange Coast. This marks the second season in a row that Delta reached the finals, only to fall short against the Pirates.
After Delta jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run single by Nate Easley, they saw the Pirates respond with eight fourth-inning runs. The first four runners reached base in the fourth inning to chase Jacob Rosales (0-1), who was making his first start of the season.
With the bases loaded, James McLellan brought home the first run with a base hit to right, which was followed by a run-scoring walk by relief pitcher Tucker McPhaul against Stefan Panayiotou. A two-run double by Nick Grimes gave the Pirates the lead, while Robert Longtree, Tommy Bell and Jack Kruger also brought home runs in the breakthrough inning.
Pirates starting pitcher Stephan Corona lasted just two batters into the third inning, but Scott Serigstad (7-3) came in and shut down the Mustangs over the next six innings. He allowed a harmless double and issued two walks. San Joaquin Delta scored twice in the ninth inning to round out the scoring.
Pirates catcher Jack Kruger and pitcher Dominic Purpura shared the Most Valuable Player award. Kruger batted .500 in the state championship tournament with two RBI, while Purpura tossed a complete-game shutout in the first game of the tournament against the Mustangs.
Coast became the first team since the 2000-2002 Riverside City College Tigers to repeat as state champions.