Diamond disaster

Unexpected seasonal slump hits Knights baseball team


David Pradel

Sophomore outfielder Ray Jones (#12) attempts to steal second base during a home game against Imperial Valley College on April 16, where the Knights won 7-6. Photo credit: David Pradel

David Pradel, Sports Editor

“The game of baseball is unpredictable — there are seasons where you are great, seasons where you are bad and some in between. We just happened to hit a rough spot this season,” said freshman pitcher Christian Broussard.

Unpredictable indeed. As the Knights baseball team began the season to a promising start with an 8-4 overall record and a 2-1 conference record, the season took a curveball midway through as the Knights were hit with a 13-game losing streak that put the team in sixth place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

“I chalk it up to the game of baseball. We had several opportunities early that could’ve swayed our record into a different direction,” baseball Head Coach Chris Brown said. “A ball bounces fair in a game or a line drive that is scorched by one of the players that turns into a double play and ends the game — you can’t do anything about that.”

Through the month of March, the Knights were hit hard. They found themselves on the wrong end of close games against conference rivals Southwestern College, Mesa College and top Southern California teams like Palomar College.

The Knights were able to defeat Southwestern College 6-0 in their first conference game back on Feb. 24 but on March 21, the Jaguars and Knights went to 11 innings of play after a clutch RBI single from Knights sophomore outfielder Ray Jones in the top of the ninth to tie it at two.

But in the bottom of the 11th, Southwestern’s catcher Dominik Sawyer sealed the victory for the Jaguars with a walk-off single that extended the Knights losing streak to nine games.

On March 24, in their second meeting against Mesa College, the Knights couldn’t squeeze out a victory like in their first where they won 4-3 on Feb. 26. Instead for the Knights, after swinging back into the ball game by scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh to remain within striking distance with Mesa who had an 11-8 lead; the Knights allowed three runs, two in the ninth and couldn’t get the balls to drop on offense for a possible late come-from-behind victory.

However, on April 9, the Knights were able to snap their 13-game losing streak against Grossmont College with a clutch walk-off single from sophomore Ricky Kliebenstein in the bottom of the ninth inning that sealed a 6-5 victory over the Griffins.

Coach Brown expressed that although the wins and losses haven’t gone the way they hoped, he is proud of the team and the way they handled the adversity of overcoming a series of losses.

“Whenever you are faced with adversity, it’s a true test of your character to see how you response to that adversity and I commend these guys because they have come with good morale throughout the year even through the adversity and that is a credit to them,” Brown continued.

With an overall record of 11-18 and a conference of 5-15, the Knights are still focused on swinging for victories as the season winds down.

“Our mindset right now is just to keep playing, win out and get better every day. I mean a record does reflect a teams win and losses but it doesn’t really reflect their true talent and capabilities,” Broussard said.