The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey / nshockey.express@gmail.com
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Home cooking: City baseball sweeps Chabot, advances to second round of playoffs

City+College+pitcher+Ben+Purcell+gets+postgame+high+fives+after+a+win+Saturday+against+Chabot+College+at+Union+Stadium.+%7C+Photo+by+Dianne+Rose+%7C+diannekayphotos%40gmail.com
City College pitcher Ben Purcell gets postgame high fives after a win Saturday against Chabot College at Union Stadium. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

Nick Pecoraro

Sports Editor

[email protected]

 

Many coaches refer to the playoffs as “the real season.” The City College baseball team began its real season at Union Stadium Friday afternoon as the No. 3 seed against 14th-seeded Chabot College in the first round of the 2018 postseason.

The Panthers rode early offense, and the pitching staff quieted the Gladiators’ bats in a two-game sweep Friday and Saturday, advancing in the California Community College Athletic Association Northern California regional bracket.

As the No. 3 seed, the Panthers are assured of at least one more home series next weekend at “The U,” where City is 16-6 this season.

“I like playing at home; I love our yard; I love our environment,” said head coach Derek Sullivan. “It’s nice to sleep in your own bed. It’s an advantage. We don’t have any special characteristics about the field, but we play our field well. It’s a pitcher’s park, and we pitch. So, if we can do that, it’s nice to be here.”

Pitching has been a major ingredient in the recipe of what has made City College successful this season. Entering the postseason, the Panthers had the fourth lowest team ERA in all of California and continued to lower it with two workman-like outings from starters Danny Chavez and Ben Purcell.

Chavez moved to 5-0 this season in the 6-1 victory Friday, and Purcell won his sixth game of the year 5-1 in Game 2 Saturday.

City College pitcher Danny Chavez throws seven shutout innings Friday against Chabot College at Union Stadium. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

Chavez worked his way out of early trouble in the first inning of Game 1. Chabot loaded the bases with only one out before Chavez got a strikeout and a popout to douse the fire with no damage done.

“(We got into) a little bit of trouble, but (Chavez) was able to get out of it,” said Chavez’s battery mate Brett Bello. “We had a double play. That’s always big. It’s a pitcher’s best friend. He was just able to keep the ball down and get a lot of groundballs; let his D work.”

After escaping the jam, Chavez cruised through seven shutout innings. He didn’t allow a hit from innings four through seven. He surrendered only four hits and three walks while striking out four and inducing three double plays.

“He looked like he was pretty ready,” said Sullivan of Chavez after Game 1 of the series. “He went out there. He wasn’t scared. He was excited because he’s getting an opportunity. He’s done a really good job for us all year. He did another great job and gave us a chance to win.”

Purcell nearly matched Chavez’s line identically through seven innings, allowing just four hits and one run with four strikeouts. The team’s No. 1 starter in 2018, Purcell threw six scoreless frames before giving up the Gladiators’ lone run with two outs in the seventh.

“That’s what you hope out of your sophomores,” said Sullivan of his starters.

City swept Chabot in three games over Jan. 30–Feb. 2 this season. As a team, City hit .310 and outscored Chabot 26-6 during that span.
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City College second baseman Joe McNamara ropes one of his five hits over a two-game set with Chabot College Friday and Saturday at Union Stadium. | Photo by Dianne Rose | [email protected]

Left fielder Kody Gardner, who hit .500 (6-for-12) with five RBIs in the previous series with Chabot, continued to torment the Gladiators. Gardner doubled in runs in each playoff game and totaled three RBIs for the Panthers.

Joe McNamara went 3-for-3 in Game 2, including a double and a run-scoring single. The City second baseman collected five hits in the series. Jaylund Johnson went 4-for-8 in the series and Daniel Walsh went 2-for-4 with a two-run single in Game 1.

Isaiah Rodriguez, Lucas Reid and Daylon Matthews combined for four innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen over the two games.

City (29-13) was ranked No. 8 overall in the final California Community College Sports Information Association coaches poll, jumping five spots from the No. 13 position in the previous week.

The Panthers will host the Fresno City College Rams (30-13) in the second round of the playoffs, beginning May 11 at Union Stadium.

“This is our place,” said Chavez on the home-field advantage. “Wherever we go, we pretty much play the same way, but when we’re at home, it’s a good environment.”

ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS

Two Panthers were named to the Big 8 All-Conference team earlier this week. First baseman Jake Guenther (.357 average, .517 on-base percentage, 46 hits, 13 doubles, three triples, 39 walks, one homer and 37 RBIs) made the first team, and reliever Adam Erickson (5-1 record in 19 appearances out of the bullpen, 31 1/3 innings, 26 strikeouts, 1.72 earned run average, and a conference-leading six saves) earned second team honors.

“They were both very deserving,” said Sullivan. “Jake Guenther’s one of the best players in our conference. Adam Erickson — you could argue that he’s a first-team type of guy, but voting goes the way that it goes. He’s very deserving. Both those kids are excellent students and good examples of very good players in our program.”

DIVISION I COMMITS

Reliever Mitchell Miller recently committed to Division I school Murray State in Kentucky, according to the City College baseball twitter account. Miller is the third Panther from this year’s team to commit to a D-I program, joining Guenther (Texas Christian University) and pitcher Tanner Cunha (University of Nevada-Reno).

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

2018 marks two major anniversaries for the City baseball team. It’s the 20-year anniversary of the team’s first National Championship in 1998. According to the team’s archive webpage, the ’98 Panthers enjoyed a 37-game win streak en route to a 44-2 record. It was the fourth of the program’s five state championships.

Thirty years ago, not only did City College officially open Union Stadium in late April, but the Panthers also captured the state title for the third time in school history in 1988. Hall-of-Fame head coach Jerry Weinstein was named National Community College Coach of the Year.

 

For more info on SCC baseball, visit www.sccpanthers.losrios.edu/sports/bsb/.

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