El Camino baseball team throws lead in Game One Sectionals loss to Orange Coast College

With two outs and a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning against No. 1 seed Orange Coast College, the Warriors’ sophomore starting pitcher Taylor Rashi was headed towards a complete game.

With runners on first and third, OCC’s John Balliet singled to trim the lead, 4-3. The Pirates had runners on first and second when Rashi’s pick-off attempt to second base goes by the infielder, advancing the runners to second and third.

The Pirates’ Wendell Keller hit a two-strike single, scoring both runs to give OCC a 5-4 lead over the El Camino baseball team and ultimately the win in the opening game of the California Community College Athletic Association Sectionals on Friday at Wendell Pickens Field.

“I was cruising along and I felt good in the eighth inning,” Rashi, who allowed five runs on 11 hits, said. “But I made a big mistake and it cost us the game.”

The Warriors would get one more chance in the ninth after sophomore outfielder Noah Barba singled with one out to give EC the tying run on base.

Sophomore catcher Trevor Casanova would fly out to center field and freshman outfielder Ty Conrad struck out to end game one of the best-of-three series.

“Our offense came out and did a good job against a really good pitcher,” Casanova, who went 3-for-4 with a walk, said. “I felt good at the plate. I was just waiting for my pitch to hit.”

EC trailed 1-0 in the sixth when Casanova led off with a single. Conrad doubled to put runners on first and third with no outs. Sophomore infielder Brady Dorn’s ground out allowed Casanova to score.

A sacrifice fly by sophomore first baseman Connor Underwood gave EC a 2-1 lead. After sophomore shortstop Darian Sylvester’s double, Barba hits a double past the diving third baseman to put EC up, 3-1.

The Pirates answered with a run in the bottom of the seventh before EC would extend the lead in the eighth, 4-2, with a sacrifice fly by freshman outfielder Cody Wissler.

EC coach Nate Fernley said the Warriors played as good of a playoff game as you could play heading into the eighth inning.

“We had them,” Fernley said. “We were trying to be a little too aggressive.”

EC will start Cassius Hamm (11-3) in game two on Saturday at 1 p.m. with the Warriors being the designated home team at Wendell Pickens Field.

“It’s a series,” Fernley said, “If we come back and win game two, then they are on their heels going into game three.”