[Photos Joe Bergman]
The Bakersfield College baseball team started the season 2-1, hoping to improve from last season, when they didn’t make the postseason for a second consecutive year.
“Everybody starts day one with the same goal. Everybody wants to win a state championship, and we’re not unique in that regard,” said BC coach Tim Painton.
The baseball team will be relying on a young and inexperienced pitching staff this season since most of their pitchers graduated last year.
“We like our pitching. There are a lot of freshman, but I like the arms. I think we’ll develop into a really good pitching staff,” said Painton.
The team does have a few returning players on the offensive side, who Painton expects to continue their success from their freshman seasons.
“Hanz Harker was an All-State player last year as a freshman so you start with him. Harrison Smith is a returning player who had a good season for us a year ago. Luis Martinez, Jacob Herrera and Brooks Douglass are all sophomores who had good seasons for us last year and they all have a little more experience than some of the freshman,” said Painton.
BC baseball began the season on Jan. 28 and played host to Feather River, Barstow and Allan Hancock at Gerry Collis Field. The Renegades went 2-1 for the weekend.
The Renegades first game was against preseason fifth-ranked Feather River College on Jan. 28. The Renegades were able to fight back from an early two run deficit and went on to eventually win the game 5-3.
Freshman pitcher Luke Andrews pitched four scoreless innings of relief to get the win. Luis Martinez drove in the go ahead run with a double in the seventh inning, which gave BC its first lead of the game, 4-3. Jacob Herrera added an RBI single to push the final score to 5-3.
When asked on how he thought the first game went, Painton said, “It went well, anytime you win opening night it’s a good night. We played well for nine innings and we competed well for nine innings.”
The following night, BC shut out Barstow College 12-0 behind Harrison Smith’s grand slam in the fourth inning to give the Renegades a 9-0 lead. BC starting pitcher Monty Stevens pitched five scoreless innings to get the win. Stevens had issues with command, walking three and hitting a batter, but he was able to work out the jams. BC’s bullpen pitched four scoreless innings only allowing one baserunner in those four innings. Barstow’s pitchers issued 11 walks.
BC freshman Brock Hallum had three RBIs, including a two-run triple in the third inning. Hanz Harker went 3-for-4 scoring three runs.
“I was happy with our performance,” said Painton. “It took us some time to get going offensively because their pitcher didn’t have great command of the zone. It’s tough to hit when baseballs are flying all over the ballpark, but as the game went on we were able to put some offense together.”
The Renegades finished their three-game home stand with an 8-5 loss against Allan Hancock. BC held a 4-3 lead going into the eighth inning before allowing five runs in the final two innings.
“We played hard, we played 27 outs, but we kind of shot ourselves in the foot. We didn’t pitch well enough today to win and we didn’t play as well today, but we competed well, so that’s all that I can ask for,” said Painton.