The year 2017 will be remembered as one that the Pasadena City College baseball program rose to success. The Lancers ended years of suffering through losing seasons and finished as a final eight Southern California playoff participant. The South Coast Conference North Division champion Lancers were eliminated from the Super Regionals Saturday in a 9-2 loss by host El Camino College. The Warriors swept the best-of-3 series, 2-0.
State No. 15-ranked and No. 7 South seed PCC finished the year at 26-15, but four of those losses came against No. 5 seed El Camino, a team that advanced to the South final four at 37-8.
PCC accomplished many things this year, but respect for its program is something that especially pleased third-year head coach Pat McGee.
"It wasn't the way we liked for this season to end, but we ended up running into a very talented El Camino team," McGee said. "Both of their top pitchers beat us. All year, we competed and showed people that PCC baseball is something to take seriously. Riverside got a taste of what we are about and that may be our highlight in sweeping them in the first round. The entire atmosphere and outlook of our program changed for the better. We know we can win a conference title and make the postseason., and that's part of our expectations as long as I'm running the team. We are now among those good teams that people will want to play in the South Coast and throughout the state."
In the finale, second baseman Andres Kim hit a solo home run in the eighth to break up a shutout bid by ECC starter and winning pitcher Cassius Hamm (7.1 innings, six hits, 11 strikeouts). Shortstop Alex Briggs and rightfielder Brett Wheat each added two hits. Nick Esparza pitched well in relief, hurling 5.2 innings, scattering nine hits, allowing three earned runs, and picking up 9 Ks.
"So many of our guys will be missed, but we need to build on what those top three batters in our lineup supplied for us," McGee said. "We will miss Alex Briggs and his leadership and superb defense, the hitting production and professional way Jeremy Conant handled himelf, and the consistent Andres Kim. He only played one season for us, but he was a team leader as well. Freshmen who return and future recruits can learn a lot about how they devoted themselves all in to PCC baseball."
Conant finished the '17 season with a .429 overall batting average, the highest single-season average in PCC history. His 67 hits are a single-season record and his 128 hits the most by a Lancer for a 2-year career. Kim's 43 runs also stands as single season school record.