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Is the crown too heavy?

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In baseball, winning the big championship is mountains above all other achievements. The final pitch is one of the most satisfying and equally disheartening events in sports, immortalizing the winning team, while devastating the loser.

Following an offseason of preparation, The Cosumnes River College Hawks entered 2013 as the defending California Community College Athletics Association State Champions, and with the weight a title like that carries.

“Expectations are pretty high,” said freshman utility Josh Pigg. “When you’re the state champions you’re expected to beat everybody.”

The 2012 CRC baseball team made their way into the CCCAA record books last season after defeating Rio Hondo College of Whitier 8-6 for the first state championship in CRC history.

The Hawks also became the first team to do so while playing every game on their opponent’s field, due to continued construction on the recently dedicated Conway field. The Hawks compiled a 28-15 record while earning the nickname: the road warriors.

Sophomore pitcher Anthony Amara played on last year’s team and recalled how the players used the stadium situation to rally together and win ball games.

“It brought us closer together, we were always traveling together” Amara said. “It was definitely a challenge but we really didn’t use it as an excuse.”

Already short two of the key players from the 2012 championship team, the Hawks started their 2013 title defense with big holes to fill. Austin Ales, last year’s ace pitcher, resigned from the team to become a Mormon missionary and number two pitcher Nick Swardon decided to leave the team to join the Air Force.

The team also had to make adjustments for unforeseen injuries to players expected to contribute heavily to the team. Freshman utility Zach Stilwell, freshman first baseman Garrett Heisinger, and Pigg all have missed more than a month due to injury at one point during the season.

Last year the Hawks went the distance with the smallest roster in Northern California, a total of 22 players. This year, head coach Tony Bloomfield said that having less players (21) on their roster has made dealing with injuries difficult.

“It’s a catch twenty-22,” Bloomfield said. “You carry small squads to get guys experience but when guys get hurt you have no depth.”

The season has not been without its success despite the injuries. Bloomfield mentioned a number of players on the rosters that are currently having solid 2013 campaigns.

“Kyle [Von Ruden] has done good for us, and Colby Wilmer is a guy who we didn’t even expect to play for us, he’s doing well in the number two order,” Bloomfield said. “The [Josh] Cosio kid got shoved into center field and he’s playing real good defense and [Bryan] Case is hitting .350, but it’s a soft .350.”

The 2013 season began with huge expectations but hasn’t gone the way the Hawks hoped it would. Currently the Hawks sit fifth place in the Big 8 with a 5-8 conference record, not exactly how Coach Bloomfield wanted to christen the new field, but Amara believes there’s still time to grab one of the remaining playoff spots.

“We’re going to have to change some things to try to get hot at the end and make the playoffs,” Amara said. “We figure if we make the playoffs we have the chance to do it again.”

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Sean Thomas, Former Staff

Spring 2013 was Sean's first and only semester at The Connection and was his 7th semester overall at Cosumnes River College. Sean served as the assistant...

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Is the crown too heavy?