The Dons are off to a hot start in the season with a current record of 18-5-1. The team currently stands in fourth place in the Orange Empire Conference, with plenty of important games remaining.
After two years the team was able to have a full schedule of games in the month of March before the conference started. The team went undefeated in thirteen games before suffering their first loss to Sierra College. After their loss, they bounced back and hit a fifteen-win mark before starting their games in the OEC.
Contributing at the plate is freshman outfielder Christian Thompson with a batting average of .436, and 23 RBIs this season. Another player threat is home run leader freshman outfielder Kyle Ashworth with five home runs.
On the other side of the ball sophomore pitcher, Chase Hennessey is dominating on the mound with a record of 3-0 with an ERA of 1.88. Helping close the door to their games is sophomore pitcher and shortstop Cedrick Perez with three saves and a total of thirty four strikeouts.
“It is hard to pinpoint any one guy, everyone has kinda done a lot 100 percent [it’s been a] team effort you got some guys standing out with hot starts but you certainly can’t do it with just one or two guys,” Head Coach Tom Nilles said.
In the OEC they currently stand with the record of 3-4 after dropping the first series to Cypress College. After dropping the first two games to the Chargers it definitely was a wake-up call for the whole team. In fact, in the last game of the series, they ended up scoring a whopping 25 runs with the win. This momentum even carried over to the Riverside series when they walked away with the win after 10 innings.
“Disappointed in dropping the series to Cypress, we were a better baseball team than what we showed in that series,” said Niles. “We look to be trending in the right direction. The bats are starting to wake up, playing good defense, and pitching has been solid for us.”
Although it may seem like the team is young, in reality they are more mature and focused. With seven returners on the team, what seemed to make the difference this year was the team’s unity. With covid restrictions finally being loosened the team was able to work out more together in the fall. A trip up north on the 25th of February to Sierra all helped out with this year’s team bonding.
“Being able to work out as a team this fall I think had a huge impact on our team compared to last year” said Hennessey. Sophomore catcher Sebastian McSherry continued “I think this year’s team is more connected than in the last and we all build off each other’s energy and have a lot of fun.”