El Camino’s baseball team will host first round of playoffs


El Camino sophomore first baseman Angel Mora makes the catch for the out against Long Beach City College on Tuesday, April 25 at Warrior Field. Photo credit: Osvaldo Deras

After winning 25 straight games and earning a share of the South Coast Conference-South title, the No. 5 El Camino baseball team will open the playoffs against No. 12 Glendale College on Friday at Warrior Field.

The first round of the California Community College Athletic Association Baseball Southern Regional playoffs begin this week as the Warriors will host a best-of-three series.

EC (33-7, 17-5) finished the season with a tough 5-game losing streak but the Warriors aren’t worried about how they ended the season. Their focus is on a new season, the playoffs.

“It’s important that we come out with a lot of energy and put up some runs early,” sophomore pitcher Taylor Rashi said. “We are very excited about getting back out on the field.”

Rashi was named SCC-South Pitcher of the Year after finishing the season 9-3 with a 1.99 ERA and was second in the state with 108 strikeouts.

Rashi said he feels very honored and humbled to receive this award and credits his teammates for a successful season.

“It all comes down to my catcher (Trevor Casanova), the defense that backs me up everyday, and the offense,” Rashi said. “There isn’t any way that any of this could have happened if it wasn’t for them and the coaches.”

Ahead of Rashi in strikeouts is sophomore pitcher Cassius Hamm, who leads the state with 109. Hamm said the Warriors are absolutely prepared for postseason play.

“This is the hardest working group of guys I have been around'” Hamm said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that when we step on the field, we are the most prepared team out there.”

Hamm was named to his second consecutive SCC-South All-Conference first team with a record of 10-2, which tied for the second most victories in the state, according to the EC athletic website.

Offensively, there is a powerhouse combination featuring the potent bats of sophomore catcher Trevor Casanova and sophomore outfielder Ryan Eastburn.

Eastburn has been very productive with runners on base, racking up 41 RBIs with an impressive .338 batting average.

“I keep a positive approach to every situation and also am very patient,” Eastburn said. “I look for the pitch that I know I can drive to help my team win.”

Casanova on the other hand, has proven to be a five-tool player, hitting .373 with seven home runs, 36 RBIs, and six stolen bases.

“I’m blessed for the season I am having this year,” Casanova said. “All we have to do on (Friday) is show up and play Warrior baseball like we have all season.

The best-of-three series against Glendale (32-8) will begin Friday at 2 pm. Game two will be on Saturday at 11 a.m. followed by game three if necessary.

“It’s been unreal and it’s not over yet,” Hamm said. “I’m confident there will be more success this year.”