BC gets two losses in tournament

Daniel Ojeda, Reporter

The Bakersfield College baseball team is all geared up and ready to start a new season. The team is looking to bounce back after an early playoff exit at the hands of Saddleback College.
BC finished last season 24-14, while going 16-8 in conference play. Bakersfield College baseball coach Tim Painton hasn’t changed his expectations about this season despite having a relatively young team.
“We have the same expectations every year,” he said. “We go into a season expecting to compete and win a conference championship. Those goals never change, entering a season every year. The goal is exactly the same.”
The team is stacked with youth, with only nine returning players from the previous season compared to 18 new players. Painton is looking to the returning sophomore class to help provide leadership for the team.
Rolando Martinez is one of the returning players Painton mentioned.
“He’s somebody we lean on, he’s a guy that does things right every day and goes about his business right,” Painton said.
He also named Cole Hallum and Kyle Nixon. “These are guys that have been through it and they can give feedback to the freshman on what to expect,” Painton said.
Painton went on to explain that the young squad will lean on the sophomore class to help provide leadership for this current group of players.
The roles and lineup for the team are still a work in progress but with so many young guys, players will be given plenty of opportunities. It’s simply a matter of taking advantage of opportunities that arise.
“Were tired of looking at each other,” Painton said “Everyone is ready to look at another colored uniform across the field.”
The Renegades opened their season by hosting a three-day tournament, starting with Porterville College on Jan. 30.
The Renegades beat Porterville 4-1 at Gerry Collis Field in a season-opening game.
Pitcher Hallum started his season off strong by working seven sharp innings and also striking out eight for the BC team.
The Renegades got the scoring started with two runs in the third inning. Jake Verdugo had a safety squeeze RBI bunt single and Zach Tanner an RBI single. In the fifth, Rolando Martinez had an RBI single after Kyle Speaks doubled. The final run came in the sixth with Jared Solf’s RBI single following an error.
The team played solid defense with no errors committed and also throwing out a runner at the plate to end the third. “I thought the freshmen played with a calm that I wasn’t sure they would have and they all played well,” Painton said when asked about BC’s starting lineup fielding five freshman.
Next up was Allan Hancock College on Jan. 31 in the second game of BC’s three-day tournament.
After opening the season with a near flawless win the Renegades were roughed up by Hancock 10-2.
Hancock pitcher Ryan Bower struck out 10 batters while pitching seven shutout innings. The Renegades didn’t help themselves, committing five errors and struggling defensively. The miscues included a throwing error, a dropped pop fly and three booted ground balls.
The BC pitching staff also struggled, giving up 12 hits and 11 walks. BC ended Hancock’s bid for a shutout in the ninth with an RBI double from Tanner and an RBI single from Hallum.
The Renegades played their last game of the tournament Feb. 1 against College of the Sequoias.College of the Sequoias (2-1) won 6-4, dropping the Renegades to 1-2 on the season. For the second straight day, walks contributed to BC’s loss as the pitching staff walked 10.
“We’ve got 10 freshman pitchers and at some point you need to get their feet wet. It’s the opening weekend, and I think nerves played into it a little bit,” Painton said.
After falling behind 4-0 by the second inning, the Renegades scored a run in four consecutive innings to keep it close, but in the seventh COS scored two runs without a hit. Three walks, including one with the bases loaded, and an RBI fielder’s choice accounted for both of the runs.
Despite the walks, BC still had a chance to win it in the ninth. The Renegades had two runners on base with none out. After a sacrifice moved both runners up, COS pitchers were able to get the last two outs to earn the save.
Verdugo and Solf each contributed with RBI groundouts, Zach Tanner had an RBI single and Matt Lemon a sacrifice fly.
BC will play five straight road games: Merced College on Feb. 4, Hartnell College on Feb. 6, Marin College on Feb. 7, Reedley College on Feb. 8, and Hancock College on Feb. 11 before playing Cerro Coso on Feb. 18 at home.