It has been a long time coming, 17 years in the making to be exact, but Knights baseball under Coach Christopher Brown has clinched a share of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference title with a victory against the Mesa College Olympians 8-2, April 24 and secured the title in a shutout against the Grossmont College Griffins 16-0, April 27.
Right-handed pitcher Nick Geraci pitched his first complete game of the season against Mesa, holding the Olympians scoreless for seven innings, striking out six batters and allowing only two runs on five hits.
The Knights held on to a 2-0 lead until the fifth inning when infielder Michael Sandoval hit a triple, then outfielder Nick Covyeau hit a single and Sandoval stole home plate to give City a 3-0 lead.
Sandoval went four-for-five with a double, a triple and two runs. Covyeau went two-for-four with one RBI and two runs.
First baseman Phil Creecy hit two home runs against the Olympians, one at the top of the sixth inning giving the Knights a four point lead over Mesa, and one during the seventh making him the offensive leader of the game with two home runs and four RBIs.
“It’s just a good win,” Creecy said. “I think we came together. We have a lot of technique. I think the guys are starting to believe that we can do it.”
With City in the lead 8-0 in the eighth inning, the Olympians did not give the Knights the shutout they had hoped for. Mesa scored one run in the eighth and ninth innings, ending the game with a final score of 8-2.
The win guaranteed City a share of the PCAC title, but their victory against Grossmont would secure the title outright.
The Knights hosted the Griffins in a blowout at Morley Field on April 27, in a game that meant winning the title and making it completely belong to City.
The Knights relentlessly pounded the Griffins in their final regular-season home game with a season high 25 hits and 16 RBIs to beat Grossmont 16-0.
City gained momentum early, scoring five runs on seven hits in the first inning, then added five runs during the second and third innings to take the lead 10-0.
Starting pitcher and PCC athlete of the week Hunter Herrera pitched for seven innings of the game, allowing only three hits and one walk before being relieved by right-hander Mike Andrade, who only allowed two hits during the final two innings.
The Knights continued scoring, tacking on four runs in the seventh inning and two during the final two innings of the game, which gave them the largest margin of victory they have seen this season.
Brown, who is in his 11th year coaching at City, attributes the success of this year’s team to three specifics.
“We talk about intensity, focus, and execution,” Brown stated.
“Those are the key ingredients and we remind the players of that all the time. And because there’s no all-stars that is what I attribute our success to.”
Placing first in the conference isn’t the only success the team has seen this season. Four players have also made the list for PCAC athlete of the week: starting pitcher Herrera, infielders Anthony Long, Louis Cazares and for the week of April 25, Sandoval.
Brown states that even though those four men have been named PCAC athlete of the week, the team has not had any issues with ego trips.
“The great thing about this team is that there are no primadonnas and nobody has an ego,” Brown commented. “There’s no ‘stars’ on this team. That’s what makes this team successful.”
The Knights are expected to kick-off the postseason hosting a regional playoff series starting May 7.