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Playoff Preview: Long Beach Baseball Set to Face Grossmont in CCCAA Sectional Playoff Round

Playoff Preview: Long Beach Baseball Set to Face Grossmont in CCCAA Sectional Playoff Round

The Long Beach City College baseball program has yet to reach the California Community College Athletic Associations (CCCAA) Sectional Playoff Round since the inception of the new playoff format. In the past, Long Beach was one playoff round short from advancing to the Final Four back in 2009. After a formidable season that has featured a pair of playoff round wins, the Vikings will continue their quest for a state championship in the sectional round against a familiar foe in the Grossmont College Griffiths.

The first game of the series is slated for this Friday, May 19th at 2 p.m. on the road. The series will continue through the weekend with a game on Saturday, May 20th at 1 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday, May 21st at 12 noon if necessary. 

The two teams have faced off against one another twice this season with Long Beach holding a 0-1-1 record against Grossmont. The first showdown ended in a heated 6-6 tie after 11 innings of action. In the game, freshman Val Stammler (Long Beach, CA) and sophomore Antonio Monroy (Maywood, CA) each notched three hits, while freshman Chase Ambrose tossed three scoreless innings. The second game did not roll the Viking's way as they were tagged with a 12-3 defeat.

LBCC's playoff run has been very consistent on offense and even stronger on the pitching front. In all four wins thus far, Long Beach has plated five or more runs. Production has been coming from the top to the bottom of the lineup with numerous faces swinging the stick well.

Freshman right fielder Zach Martinez (Long Beach, CA) has been quietly pacing the squad by going 6-for-14 (.300) in the last four games that includes five runs scored and two RBI. Sophomore third baseman Reese Berberet (Long Beach, CA) and freshman second baseman Tyler Wilber (Long Beach, CA) have come up with clutch hits with runners in scoring position. Stammler has barreled the lone long ball for the Vikings in the post season.

Freshman starter Josh Agnew (Long Beach, CA) continues his hot pace as one of the most dominant pitchers this season that includes the postseason. After tossing consecutive complete-game shutouts, the freshman phenome pushed his wins total to double-digits at 10 after tossing seven innings and allowing just one run off seven hits in a 7-5 victory over L.A. Mission. The victory was his third-straight. He leads his team with 114 innings pitched while holding a lowly 2.13 ERA. His 60 strikeouts rank second on the team while he averages a 4.74 strikeouts-per-nine innings mark.

Sophomore Schuyler Hill (Long Beach, CA) has displayed his ability to perform in numerous roles by earning a victory in a start against Saddleback and coming in for a one-out save against L.A. Mission in the final game. Hill has allowed just two hits in 6.1 innings while fanning five batters. Despite his walks total being relatively high, his strikeouts mark has compensated nicely. He owns a massive 8.12 strikeouts-per-nine innings and leads the staff with 71 punch outs.

Grossmont boast an impressive 33-7-1 record that includes a 17-1-1 record on their home diamond. They reigned supreme in the Pacific Coast Conference with a 22-2 conference mark. Sophomore Noah Strohl is a powerful threat for the Griffiths as he has barreled team-high 10 round trippers and 49 RBI. Seven players boast batting averages in above .300 average (120+ at-bats) with sophomore David Maldonado leading the team with a .377 batting with a team-leading 63 base knocks.

The pitching staff has been money all year with sophomore Donavon McCrystal boasting a 9-2 record with a 2.25 ERA in 88 innings pitched. Freshman Tim Holdgrafer earned an 8-0 record, while freshman Hayden Shenefield holds a 6-0 record. Sophomore Javier De la Torre and freshman Jeremiah Barr each own four saves.