FRESNO, Calif. - Right-hander Cassius Hamm was just what El Camino College needed on Sunday morning, striking out nine during a complete-game 6-1 win over Ohlone College, as the Warriors stayed alive with an elimination-game win at the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association Baseball State Championship at Fresno City College.
The win propels El Camino (40-9) into another elimination game situation later today where it'll face the loser of the 2 p.m. championship semifinal between Grossmont College (36-7-1) and Santa Rosa Junior College (36-9).
Third baseman Hunter Lewis had two hits for the Warriors, including a two-run double that broke open a scoreless game in the fifth. Shortstop Darian Sylvester singled to right for two runs during a four-run Warriors uprising in the seventh that put El Camino in front, 6-0.
That offense was more than enough for Hamm, who allowed singles to Isaac Cruz and Jack Alvarado to start the bottom of the first inning but got out of the jam after Cruz was thrown out at third by catcher Trevor Casanova during a double-steal attempt. Hamm then struck Ryan Ruley to end the frame.
He walked just two batters to go with his 9 K's as he took control after the early part of the game. The only run he gave up came in the Renegades' last at-bat when Miguel Cazares and Naeem Knox had back-to-back doubles with two outs. Hamm improved to 13-3. Hamm didn't allow a runner to reach third until the ninth.
El Camino chased Ohlone starter Karen Alo-Kaonohi in the fifth. A hit batter and single with one out brought up Lewis, who doubled off the left-center field wall to score Noah Barba and Cody Wissler. It was Lewis' 15th double this season.
Barba and Wissler both singled to open the big seventh inning for El Camino, with Lewis doing the same to load the bases for Sylvester. His single brought in two runs while a wild pitch brought in two more after a play at the plate to get Lewis also brought in Sylvester after the ball rolled into the third-base dugout.
El Camino benefitted from three Ohlone errors while committing one itself. Ohlone, who was led by Knox's two hits and RBI, finished its highly successful season 42-7. Alo-Kaonohi fell to 2-2 with the loss.
The winner of Sunday's late game involving El Camino will advance to Monday's championship at 11 a.m.