Successful Knights baseball season comes to an end

Andrea Malloyd and Andrea Malloyd

The Knights’ most successful season in 17 years, ended May 8 at Morley Field with a devastating 2-1 loss in a three-game regional playoff series against No. 16 seed Cuesta College, who will now move on to the Super Regionals.

City won the first game of the series 5-4 on Friday, May 7, with a game-winning high single hit that landed on the right-field line by infielder Louis Cazares in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Starting pitcher and Pacific Coast Conference player of the year, Hunter Herrera, pitched his second complete game of the season and helped City keep a 4-2 lead, until the ninth inning when the Cuesta Cougars scored two runs, tying the score 4-4.

Herrera also struck out six batters and allowed only two earned runs on eight hits.

Cazares went 3-for-5 at the plate with one RBI while Corey Vasquez went 3-for-4 with one RBI and one run, and Kevin Santos went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

During game two on May 8, the Knights took a 10-5 lead in the eighth inning, after Michael Sandoval’s grand slam over the left-field fence.

The home run by Sandoval seemed to put City in close range of another victory; however, Cuesta didn’t give up without a fight.

In the bottom of the eighth, Cuesta answered with four runs of their own bringing them within one of the Knights, 10-9.

Then, with two outs and one runner on, Cuesta’s Austin Cunningham hit a triple that allowed one RBI to tie the score 10-10.
The game stayed tied for two more innings until the bottom of the eleventh when Cougar Mitchell Prophet hit a single that drove in one runner for the 11-10 win that forced a third game.

After a 30-minute break, Cuesta began to drive the final nail into the coffin for the Knights’ season when the Cougars took the lead early and never missed a beat.

The Cougars took a 10-0 lead in the first three innings of game three, and City never recovered losing 20-7.

Even with the devastation of a playoff loss, the Knights have had their most successful season in 17 years, having Head Coach Chris Brown being dubbed PCC Coach of the Year, and seven players named to the All-PCC First team: Herrera, left-hand pitcher Adam Bileckyj, center fielder Corey Vasquez, infielder Anthony Long, infielder Louis Casarez, infielder Michael Sandoval and outfielder Gilbert Guardado.

Along with those honors, four other players received honorable mention by the conference: first basemen Phil Creecy, right-hand pitcher Nick Geraci, outfielder Nick Covyeau and outfielder Kevin Santos.

Creecy remains confident that the team will learn from the mistakes made during the playoffs in order to advance further next season.

“The honors and awards given to the guys on our team this year were the result of a lot of hard work, on both the players’ and coaches’ parts,” Creecy stated. “I think those awards will play a part in propelling us to success next season, but I think the experience of winning the Conference Championship and reaching the playoffs will play an even bigger part in getting us back there next year.”