BC baseball ready for fresh start
After a late-season collapse in 2011, the Bakersfield College baseball team is dusting off its cleats and getting ready for a fresh season.
Invigorated by new faces and a determination to win, the Renegades look to best their first opponent, Golden West College, on Feb. 3 on Gerry Collis Field.
Tied 2-2 in the sixth inning of their final game of the season, the Renegades allowed two runs in the seventh, then a grand slam in the eighth, ending their playoff hopes and wrapping up a four-game losing streak to end the year.
“It’s disappointing any time you miss the postseason,” said coach Tim Painton, who is entering his 17th season with BC. “We went down to the last day of the season with a chance to win a piece of a championship and ended up losing late in the ballgame.”
With the massive amount of turnover on the roster from year to year, Painton is reluctant to compare this team to that of 2011, but is confident that questions of pitching depth and balance along the lineup, that plagued last year’s team, will be answered as the season progresses.
Among the new freshman on the team, Painton is looking at several that can make up for lost production that David Pennington took with him to the next level.
“He carried more of the load offensively then he should have, and I think we’re a more balanced offense now,” he said.
Blayne Ontiveros is one of those freshmen that Painton thinks can help them achieve the balance and consistency that he is looking for out of the lineup.
Ontiveros was the player of the year in 2011 and batted .444 with 37 RBIs and 13 home runs when he led the Frontier High Titans to a 22-8 record.
Starting pitchers Brad Lindsey and Ryan Stapp, according to Painton, are the most promising of the freshman class in terms of the pitching staff.
Lindsey went 13-3 overall for Frontier with an ERA of 2.70.
According to Painton, the team is mentally strong and has come together as a group over the fall, but he thinks that they will be tested once the season starts and progress. Until then, it’s a guessing game.
“We’re a little bit unique in that out of our 34 players on our roster, 30 of them are local kids,” Painton said. “They’re all in the same age bracket and they’ve grown up playing either with or against each other. They’re not afraid to push each other to get better each day.”