The No. 19 Long Beach City College baseball team's chances at hauling in a South Coast Conference (SCC) – South title seemed slim at the beginning of March as they sat in a decently comfortable second place behind the then undefeated and top-ranked El Camino College Warriors.
After sweeping the EC-Compton Center Tartars a series ago, the Vikings went into a three-game series with the No. 1 Warriors to wrap up conference play in need of a series sweep to haul in the title. After winning the first game of the series, Long Beach combined for 31 runs in the following two games to earn a series sweep over the Warriors and reel in a SCC-South Co-Conference Championship.
In game two of the three-game series, the Vikings blanked the Warriors by the score of 11-0. There was plenty of offense to go around, but freshman starter Josh Agnew (Long Beach, CA) highlighted the performances on the bump by tossing a complete-game shutout where he scattered just five hits and struck out four batters. He blanked the Warriors in the hits column through the opening three frames as well.
The bats were hot for Long Beach as they uncorked 19 total hits. Sophomore designated hitter Jared Mayeda (Cypress, CA) launched a two-run blast – his first of the season – over the left-field wall to give the Vikings an early advantage. He finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
The floodgates busted open from there as the Vikings scored nine runs in the final four frames. Freshman left fielder Colin Perez (Long Beach, CA) had himself a day at the dish by going 3-for-5 with four RBI. He recorded a pair of RBI singles and capped his offensive output with a two-RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning.
With two wins in the bag, the Vikings went on the quest for a series sweep and a conference title. Long Beach came out of the gates guns blazing in the opening three innings by grabbing a 13-4 lead through the first three frames, highlighted by a seven-run third inning.
Freshman right fielder Zach Martinez (Long Beach, CA) started the RBI train in the top of the third inning with a single to right center, plating freshman second baseman Tyler Wilber (Los Alamitos, CA). Freshman catcher Robert Barham (Long Beach, CA) followed with a single to left field, scoring Mayeda. After Martinez scored on a fielding blunder by the Warriors, sophomore Antonio Monroy (Maywood, CA) laced a two-RBI single up the middle, plating Perez and Barham. Freshman third baseman Reese Berberet (Long Beach, CA) capped off the inning by sending home Monroy and freshman center fielder Val Stammler (Long Beach, CA) on a double to center field to grab a 13-3 advantage.
After the Warriors began to chip away at the lead and trim their deficit to four runs, the Vikings continued to answer highlighted by back-to-back bombs from Berberet and sophomore first baseman Vincent Byrd II (Long Beach, CA) to expand their lead to 17-8.
Again, the Warriors began to make it interesting, but the Vikings tossed up a seven spot in the top of the eighth inning en route to a 20-14 victory and a Co-Conference Championship.
The Vikings complete their season with an overall record of 26-13-1 that included a 17-5 conference mark. Despite owning the same record as El Camino at season's end, the Vikings hold the tiebreaker and will own the higher seed for playoffs. They will host a playoff game at home with the time, date, and opponent to be determined.
Stay tuned to www.lbccviking.com for further information.