The Hawks baseball team picked up a crucial conference win on Tuesday, blowing out San Joaquin Delta College by a final score of 20-8.
The team was led by strong performances by sophomore pitcher Matt Richardson, sophomore second baseman Devin Pettengill, freshman outfielder Chris Loeb and sophomore shortstop Andre Gregory.
Richardson tossed six strong innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) along with two hits and two walks.
“I thought Richardson pitched the best game he’s pitched all year.” said head coach Tony Bloomfield. “He was in a good groove. He hadn’t pitched well all year, he’ll be the first guy to tell you that, our team needed him to respond today and he did.”
The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead in the first inning, reaching on a single and walk before sophomore first baseman Chris Williams lined an RBI single to give the team a 1-0 lead.
Richardson stuck with his approach on the mound from the first inning and put up his best start of the season. He would only allow one hit and one walk over the next five innings.
“What I found in the first is what I rolled with the rest of the game,” Richardson said. “I found a competitive edge in the first inning, I wasn’t in a rhythm, I just stuck with what I found in the first.”
Richardson’s start came at a point in the season when both he and the team needed the momentum and confidence to carry with them and turn things around.
“I’ve been needing to do that the whole entire season and so has our team. We haven’t been playing good lately, myself included,” Richardson said.
The Hawks tied the game in the third inning on freshman first baseman Billy Rockafeller’s bases-loaded infield single. Freshman designated hitter Chris Loeb then lined a two-run single into centerfield to give CRC a 3-1 lead.
“Just trying to put it in play, get a couple runs across. Just trying to be aggressive pretty much. We kept scoring after that and it was a huge rally,” Loeb said.
Loeb finished the day 4-4 with two RBI’s and a run scored and credits his aggressive approach at the plate, “every time I saw a strike I was hacking at it. Fortunate enough to put it in play and find a hole.”
Sophomore second baseman Devin Pettengill, who finished 3-3 with three walks, five RBI’s and a stolen base, drilled a two-run single in the fourth then scored on a wild pitch to give the Hawks a 6-1 lead.
In the fifth, CRC jumped out to 8-1 lead thanks to a two-run single by freshman outfielder Peyton Wheatley. But the lead was trimmed to 8-2 in the sixth and then 8-6 in the seventh after a two-run double and two RBI singles were given up by the bullpen.
The Hawks answered back in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases to start the bottom of the inning and then having a runner score on a hit by pitch. Pettengill then came through again with a three-run triple into the alley, extending the lead to 12-6. Two more runs scored in the inning, giving the Hawks a 14-6 lead.
CRC put the game away in the eighth, thanks to Gregory blasting a grand slam over the left field wall, giving the team a 20-6 lead.
“It was huge. They can really hit, they are an offensive team, it helps out. We score six runs in the seventh, six runs in the eighth. Momentum. That’s a really, really good,” Tony Bloomfield said.
After a 12-0 start to the season, CRC had gone 2-6 before Thursday and the team knew they needed to respond in their final game of a three-game series against the Mustangs.
“Our kids responded back, we didn’t get swept. We gotta get on a roll, win a series here next week against DVC (Diablo Valley College),” Bloomfield said.
The Hawks next home game is on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Diablo Valley College. Saturday’s game will start a three-game series against DIablo Valley, then the Hawks will play them on the road on March 29 and March 31.