FRESNO, Calif. - The Warriors magical season came to an end as they fell to Orange Coast College 8-7 in the Championship game on Tuesday afternoon at John Euless Ballpark.
The Warriors showed their strength and resolve after battling back into the game from an early deficit and even taking the lead twice before eventually losing in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Warriors (40-9) once again outhit the Pirates (39-9-1) 14 hits to 12 hits. However, the Warriors once again left 12 men on base and failed to cash in on early opportunities.
Matt Beserra was perfect at the dish as he got on base every time and went 4-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, 4 RBIs, and a go-ahead homerun in the 7th inning. Joseph Borges, Aaron Orozco, Spencer Long, and Taishi Nakawake each had multi-hit days for the Warriors.
Nathan Draves drew the start for the Warriors but was ineffective from the bump. He went 1.2 innings and allowed four runs on four hits and two walks. Julian Diaz tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. Spencer Long tossed four innings allowing three runs on five hits and two walks. Jimmy Galicia suffered the hard lock loss after throwing 1.1 innings and allowing the winning run on two hits, two walks, and one strikeout. The Warriors pitching staff surrendered an uncharacteristic six walks in the game.
OCC jumped to an early 4-0 lead after two innings to start the game off. Skylar Limonchi scored on a Davis Delorefice RBI single in the first inning. In the second inning, the Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the inning. The Pirates hit a ball to Spencer Palmer at first base who went for the sure out at first rather than attempt the double play at home to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. It came back to bite the Warriors as the next batter, Tommy Williams hit a 2 RBI single to left field to make it 4-0 early in the game.
The Warriors finally got a run back in the fourth inning. Ty Conrad reached on a throwing error by the third basemen and Aaron Orozco singled up the middle to put runners on the corners. Matt Beserra hit a base hit in the next at-bat to make it a 4-1 game.
The Warrior tied the game up in the next inning as the pendulum swung to the Warriors side. Spencer Palmer led the inning off by reaching on a fielding error by the first baseman. Spencer Long singled to right field to put runners on the corners. He eventually stole second base before Aaron Orozco singled to left field to bring in both runs. Matt Beserra doubled to deep left center to score Orozco and tie the game up at 4-4.
The Pirates regained the lead after loading the base in the sixth inning. Tommy Williams hit a sac fly to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead.
The Warriors and the Pirates would trade blows in the seventh inning. Spencer Long led the seventh inning off with a base hit. Matt Beserra hit a towering moon shot over the left center wall to give the Warriors the lead for the first time in the game at 6-5. Orange Coast College scored two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. They started the inning off with back-to-back singles before having runners on 3rd and 2nd on a sac bunt. David Morgan doubled to deep right center to plate both runs and make it a 7-6 OCC lead.
However, the Warriors weren't done yet. Taishi Nakawake led the 8th inning off with a double off the left field wall. He eventually came around to score on a Spencer Palmer sac fly to make it a 7-7 game. The Warriors had another two-out rally in them. Joseph Borges singled to right field and advanced to 2B on a wild pitch. Spencer Long was intentionally walked to bring up Ty Conrad. Both runners advanced into scoring position on another wild pitch. Ty Conrad hit a shallow ball to right field that the OCC right fielder dived for and missed and that would've gaven the Warriors a big 9-7 lead. However, the first base field umpire judged the ball to be foul and Conrad eventually grounded out to end the frame for the Warriors.
The Warriors had their chance to plate a run in the 9th inning. Jimmy Galicia led the inning off with a base hit. Matt Beserra worked a walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Logan Young had a perfect sac bunt to advance the runners to second and third. However, Taishi Nakawake struck out and Jerry Granillo grounded out to end the threat from the Warriors.
The Pirates eventually walked it off in the bottom of the 9th inning. The lead-off hitter worked a walk and the next batter singled to put the first two runners on board. They advanced on a sac bunt and the Warriors intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases with one out. Joey Fregosi hit a pinch hit chopped single to short to win the game for the Pirates and the state championship.
The Warriors finish the season as the state runner-ups with a 40-9 record. The Warriors salute an outstanding sophomore class as starters Jerry Granillo, Joseph Borges, Ty Conrad, Matt Beserra, Taishi Nakawake, Spencer Long, and Spencer Palmer finish up their El Camino College careers.