By: Joshua Gerard Gargiulo
PHOENIX - The play-offs proved itself to be a daunting task for a Bears’ team carrying quality talent at all positions, as Phoenix College finishes 13th in conference.
Falling 5-games short of .500, at 25-30. Phoenix College’s struggles came against the Top-6 conference teams, going 2-14 against them during the season. They concluded the season with an overall conference record of 13-25. Taking this into account, the Bears were 12-5 outside of conference play; a fairly telling statistic.
Of all eligible batters (19), PC had ten batters who posted a batting average above .250. Furthermore, all but one player managed to register multiple extra base hits. Seven different players also contributed double-digit RBI, with the high-man being sophomore Dominic Grissom with 27- matching his number.
The top two hitters for Phoenix College were both Sophomore transfers: Dom Grissom and Marty Dosen.
Grissom, a transfer from San Francisco University, showed out after transferring-in. During a season where Grissom made 150 plate appearances, #27 successfully reached base 48 times (59 counting walks), for a .320 BA and .367 OBP. Where the power lacked for the 6’0 outfielder, he made up for with a team-leading 27 RBI, 11 doubles and six triples. He also came second on the team in stolen bases with nine.
Dosen, who transferred-in from Parkland College in Illinois, came in one-point off leader Grissom with a .319 batting average and .404 OBP. In ninety-four at-bats, Dosen produced 30 hits with seven doubles and 8 RBI. He also accounted for 21 runs and eight stolen bases.
Other valiant hitting efforts included: Mason LaRusso with a .307 BA and 10 RBI; Law Greiner with a .289 BA and five doubles; and Gino Caperon with a .264 BA and 13 RBI.
The Bears’ top-five pitchers threw for a combined 255.6 innings pitched in 2019. Dishing out 274 strike-outs, PC Baseball produced an impressive 9.73 K/9 average; which would have been 2nd-best in conference if that was the case. This also adds to an adequate 3.89 ERA.
Phoenix College Ace, Sergio Heguertty posted the best record during the season with a 5-4 overall record in 72.2 IP. Heguertty also led the starters in strike-outs (71) and ERA (2.11).
Flipping the script, you come upon a bullpen carrying only one sub-three ERA pitcher (Noah Schodenhardt). Despite pitching a combined 137 innings less than the starters, the Bears’ bullpen carried an ERA 0.99 above their counterparts. The repercussions of this number saw the Bears’ conference-rank in ERA drop to ninth at 4.29.
Since the loss of seven sophomores from their 2017 National Tournament team, coach Kimball has seen a revolving door of talent at Second, Third and Shortstop. As he has never found a true fit at the positional areas. Three more errors and one-hundredth of a point lower than last year’s fielding percentage does not indicate any abnormalities other than a lack of fielding talent in the infield. Nevertheless, outfielders like Ben Aklinski, Anthony Williams, Lenny Walker and Dom Grissom have all stepped-up where others lack- at times.
Of the top ten hitters for Phoenix College, half are freshman returning next year. Among the five freshmen, they combined for 106 hits and 48 RBI, averaging around .266 in the box. Furthermore, all but two freshmen saw double-digit games. Outfielder Gino Caperon leading the team, playing in 45 total games. The future of Bears’ Baseball appears bright, especially if the majority of these players end up returning for a sophomore season.
Phoenix College Baseball and Head Coach, Kevin Kimball have a plethora of potential talent alongside a young bullpen that showed their youth during the season; but have the stamina and variety to produce solid outings. A count of twenty players are expected to return to Phoenix College, alongside a strong 2020 recruiting class. Until then, it comes down to “keying-on” on this season’s weaknesses and perfecting them for next year’s campaign.