Mesa baseball builds on success from last season

Curtis Manlapig, Staff Writer

Originally published: February 14,2012

San Diego Mesa College’s baseball team began their much anticipated season on Feb. 3 taking on Mt. San Jacinto College where the Olympians put on a show stopping display of hitting and pitching thus earning themselves their first win.

Seventeenth-ranked in the preseason, Mesa College’s baseball team has a lot to prove after last season’s successful campaign and with 22 freshmen and nine returning sophomores, continuing the winning ways would be a very impressive feat.

This spring, the Olympians look to compete for a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship after finishing in second place last season with a record of 21 and 17. Mesa made it to the Southern California Regionals before losing to highly ranked Santa Ana College in three games while achieving victory in one of them.

The team is led by Kevin Hazlett, who has been the head coach since 1999 and keeps his team competitive every year. So far Hazlett has been very impressed with his 2012 team.

“We spent a lot of time in the fall working on fundamentals” he said. “This group did a really nice job of buying into our system quickly,” said Hazlett.

He preaches a balanced style of play and likes to put pressure on opponents with overall team speed.

The first game of the season was against Mt. San Jacinto College on Feb. 3.

Coach Hazlett praised them saying how similar the two teams were. Fortunately for Mesa College, on this day, there were not many similarities. The Olympians won the game 10-1 behind strong pitching and power hitting.

Starting freshman pitcher Chris Tuma threw a solid seven innings allowing only one earned run. His cut fastball was giving opposing hitters a hard time.

“I feel like they haven’t seen something like that before, so I had a little bit of an advantage” said Tuma.

The hitting was a major component in the win as well. Sophomore Anthony Diaz had three hits in four at bats, to include one home run.

“See it, hit it and just try to stay relaxed” said Diaz regarding his approach at the plate.

San Diego Mesa Olympians had a successful first game and are poised for a run at the conference championship behind great pitching and a balanced offensive mind set. The next two home games are Feb 14 and Feb 21 at 2 p.m.