The Hawks’ baseball team advanced to the second round of the playoffs in the California Community College Championship Athletic Association after an impressive series win over the number two seeded Feather River Golden Eagles on Saturday.
After losing game one of the series on Friday, the Hawks won both games of the doubleheader on Saturday to advance to the next round. Head Coach Don Mico said the key in securing a series win in round one was executing pitches and playing good defense.
“We pitched well, we played good defense and we had timely hits,” said Mico. “When we played defense and pitchers hit their spots, we were always in games, but when we had those big timely hits, we actually won games.”
The Golden Eagles, who entered the series with a team total of 100 stolen bases, were neutralized on the base paths during the series which was key in advancing.
“We knew that they were going to try to run on us going into the series,” said Mico. “We had a game plan to ensure that their base runners were held accountable and our pitchers did a good job of following that plan.”
In addition to keeping the Golden Eagles in check on the bases, the Hawks knew that they had to find ways to manufacture runs as well during the series.
Going up against a very good Golden Eagles’ pitching staff, sophomore outfielder Burle Dixon said the team knew that scoring runs was going to be a imperative in winning the series.
Starting sophomore shortstop J.D. Mico, who was sidelined for part of the regular season due to a hamstring injury, said the team will look to carry the success they had in round one into the rest of the playoffs.
“When we play good defense, it gives our pitchers confidence,” said J.D. Mico. “It helped manufacture a lot of runs on offense for them too so we just have to focus on that.”
After upsetting the number two seed and nationally ranked Golden Eagles on Saturday, freshmen first baseman Kyler Key said the team will use the win as momentum in round two.
As number 15 seed going up against the number two seed in the playoff bracket, Key said the team was doubted by many heading into the postseason.
“Not many people thought we were gonna win but we knew what we had to do and we put it all together,” said Key. “It gives us a lot of momentum headed into the second round against the number one seed.”
Aside from good execution on the mound and discipline at the plate, Mico said what sets this team apart from the rest is that they are a coherent group.
“We’re a family,” said Mico. “We have a smaller unit and when it’s all said and done, we’re there for each other.”
The Hawks are looking to pull off another upset against the number one seeded San Joaquin Delta Mustangs on Thursday in the CCCAA super regional.
“We’re hoping that we can just do what we’re capable of doing,” said Mico. “That’s pitching, playing defense, put the ball in play and run the bases aggressively.”
Update: The Hawks lost in the second round to the Mustangs 12-3 and 11-7 on Thursday and Friday to end their playoff run.