Mesa Baseball comes back from tough loss to win series, move on to CCCAA Super Regionals


Photo caption - No. 3, Mesa catcher, Jacob Engel, Sophomore, catches a high fastball as No. 19, Enrique Bennett, holds the swing. Photo Credit - Erik Acosta.

Erik Acosta, Editor-In-Chief

The Mesa College baseball team won two games out of a three-game series against Golden West College, sending Mesa to the CCCAA Super Regionals. The score for the series was a 3-0 win by Golden West, a 9-6 win by Mesa, and a 6-3 win by Mesa.

The series began on May 3, and it turned out to be an incredibly hard game for Mesa due to the prowess of the Golden West pitching staff. Mesa was the home team for Game 1. Golden West pitcher Josh Ibarra threw nine innings of no-hit baseball while striking out 16 Olympians. The game was tied 0-0 until the top of the 10th inning, when Golden West scored three runs to win the first game.

After coming off a loss in the first game, in which the Olympians only had one hit, things were looking pretty bleak for Mesa. To move on to the CCCAA Super Regionals, the Olympians now had to win both games the following day. With the pressure weighing down on the Mesa players, the second game began at 11 a.m. on May 4, with Mesa playing as the away team despite playing on their home field. The Olympians’ bats came alive with a 9-3 victory. 

The Olympians scored two runs at the top of the first inning, determined not to go home after just one game. Infielder Isidro Velez homered to left field, and Cyrus Fullen also scored. The game continued without a run until Mesa’s bats came swinging hard at the top of the fourth inning. Joel Escalante singled to left field, sending a player home, and opened the scoring floodgates. As the hits kept coming and the pressure kept mounting, things got even worse for Golden West when the Rustlers’ Nelson Padilla took a hard ground ball to the face at his position at shortstop. The game stopped briefly as Golden West coaches went to check up on Padilla. The inning ended with Mesa scoring 5 runs in the fourth inning, giving Mesa at a 7-0 lead.

Golden West didn’t score until the fifth inning, when Austin Schell singled to third and sent a run home. Mesa would continue to hold the lead for the second game, forcing the series into a decisive third game.

After the second game, Mesa pitcher Riley Aggson was happy with the win. “We definitely needed the motivation to come back and win, specially after a tough loss yesterday,” he said. “(Golden West) is a really good ball club, they’re really gonna challenge us for game three, but were going to bring it to them.”

For the third game, the Olympians switched back to their striped home uniforms, and took the field first at 2:46 p.m.  and came away with a decisive 6-3 victory.

The first score of the game came at the bottom of the first inning when Mesa’s Kevin Van Linge, grounded out to shortstop but sent an RBI home. Mesa held the lead until Golden West tied up the score at the top of the fourth inning, 1-1.

When Mesa took to the plate with the game tied at the bottom of the fourth, the tension could be felt throughout the stadium, but Mesa then answered back with two runs, to take back the lead to 3-1.

But Golden West was not going to be put away that easily, and they answered right back at the top of the fifth inning. The Rustlers’ Seth Nelson doubled to center field, and sent two runs home and tied the game 3-3. Mesa was barely able to keep the swinging bats of Golden West at bay, and held the tied score until Mesa took came to bat at the bottom of the fifth.

At the bottom of the fifth, Mesa scored 2 runs after Van Linge doubled down the right field line, sending Fullen and Jacob Engel home. Mesa took the lead 5-3, until the Olympians scored again at the bottom of the sixth when Victor Ceniceros singled to right field, and sent an RBI home. 

The Olympians rushed the field cheering and congratulating each other as they came out on top, winning the three-game series and sending Mesa to the CCCAA Super Regionals, and keeping their season alive.

“They’re pretty resilient, maybe not the strongest and fastest but they are the hardest working,” Mesa coach Steve Sanchez said after Game 2. When asked what made the difference between the games in the series, Sanchez said, “My players wanted to win more than the other guys did. We threw a few guys who don’t throw very often, that’s why it’s a pitching staff. It takes a culmination of all their efforts to be a successful baseball team.”

Update: Mesa College faced off against Glendale Community College, and lost at the bottom of the 11th inning on a walk-off homerun 8-7, Glendale. The following game against Glendale was also lost 12-3, Glendale. Mesa finishes their season with a record 28-15-1.