Playoff spot denied for BC baseball


J.R. Hensley

Tyson Brewer on the plate waiting for the pitch against Golde West Pitcher on April 8.

Sam L. Jaime, Sports Editor

Any hopes for a playoff berth for the Bakersfield College baseball team were dashed in a 9-2 loss at the hands of Saddleback on April 13. “Pretty much, today put a knife in our season. The state of California has a rule that you have to be .500 to be considered a playoff team, so by losing our 21st game today, that eliminated that opportunity,” said head coach Tim Painton.

It seemed this loss was a sort of microcosm of what the season’s worst parts had been for the Renegades through this point, perhaps the parts that had cost them re-entry to the playoffs. “Today, Luke Andrews was very good. We didn’t make routine defensive plays that lead to four unearned runs. He’s done that for us all year, he’s given us quality starts, and unfortunately we’ve had some defensive breakdowns behind him, and a lack of offense, and that was kind of the same today. He’s pitched in our biggest ballgames, but when you give up four unearned runs, it’s very difficult to overcome what we put ourselves into,” said Painton. If not for that rule, Renegades would have had a chance in the five games remaining, at that point, to climb out of third place in the Western State Conference South division, and possibly earn a playoff spot. That isn’t the case however, instead, the Renegades will be left to figure out how to fix things.

“We just have to continue to get better, and I think with this, where we are at right now, I have to take responsibility for this group. Whether we didn’t recruit the right guys, or whether or not we didn’t develop the players, ultimately, at the end of the day, I’m going to take responsibility for that. So we have to find a way to be better as a group moving forward than we were this year,” said Painton.

Despite the tough reality of not making the playoffs, the team has four games remaining on the schedule, and a chance to end things in a positive place. “You play out a season regardless of how it unfolds, so we’re not going to do anything different, hopefully we can get some consistency over the remaining games and finish on a good note,” said Painton. The process of turning over a team to welcome incoming freshmen while sophomores embark on their next chapter has been an ongoing process for months, yet with the team’s current fortunes and portion of the schedule, recruitment is in full swing.”

The process of saying goodbye has been ongoing throughout the past few months for sophomores, and the process of recruiting freshmen has already started. We had the opportunity Monday (April 10), after playing a makeup game Saturday, we gave our guys the day off, which allowed me and our coaches to see nine or 10 baseball games that day. So for us, there aren’t really any days off, we don’t have that opportunity, especially this time of year,” said Painton.

Coaches have scouted players from these high school games throughout the season, but the effort could continue through July, depending on how long it takes to get the roster in place the way they want it. These new arrivals might play a large role in the rebuilding process for Painton, however the continued development of his returning players are also key.

“I think two guys that have continued to push, and I am certainly not eliminating anyone else, but Brant Combs was the fourth second baseman to get an opportunity to play there this year. We had three guys get stats at second base prior to him getting that opportunity, and he’s taken that opportunity and ran with it. Conner Dodge has continued to develop as a centerfielder, I also think Cameron Johnson has come a long way on the defensive side of things,” he said.

Yet the April 13 loss, and subsequent elimination from playoff contention doesn’t truly summate the season’s journey. “I don’t like putting grades on people or things because you have guys that for whatever reason have struggled at times this year, you have guys who have played hurt, that people outside don’t realize they’ve played hurt all year. So those effect their performance in a lot of ways, and when you start putting grades on them, then you are grading stats, you’re grading end result, and a lot of people don’t know what had gone into that performance,” said Painton,

“You never know the outcome, that’s the great thing about athletics, that’s why you do it. If you knew the outcome, there’d be no reason to play. There’s always something to learn from every situation, so hopefully we can take some of the things that have gone wrong and whether it’s a sophomore moving on or a freshman coming back, you take the situations out of this year that crated what we’re going through and you improve those, you recognize those, and you own up to those, and then you have a chance to move forward. So certainly there’s a lot to be learned in any situation, and in the season we’ve gone through.”