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Orange Coast College baseball team is eliminated from Final Four

One of OCC's best teams ever falls to Rio Hondo in 12 innings and is eliminated from state tournament.

May 19, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
  • Orange Coast College's Brandon Brennan, seen here pitching to Cypress College's Brad Hartong, pitched into the 11th inning Saturday, but his 130-pitch effort wasn't enough to lead the Pirates to victory.
Orange Coast College's Brandon Brennan, seen here… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

BAKERSFIELD — Only seven times in 44 games this season did Orange Coast College baseball Coach John Altobelli have to address his players after a loss. But when it came time to speak from the heart after being eliminated from the California Community College Athletic Assn. State Championship on Saturday, the words he delivered to his team were as obvious as they were true.

"I told them that we loved them," Altobelli said of the aftermath of a 5-4 defeat in 12 innings to Rio Hondo in the four-team, double-elimination tournament at Bakersfield Community College.

The loss, combined with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Sierra on Friday, ended OCC's season and detonated what had been one of the most talented and successful Pirates rosters ever assembled.

No fewer than nine Pirates have already made commitments to four-year college programs, and likely a few more will be accept invitations offered by four-year recruiters. A handful of Pirates figure to be selected by Major League teams in the June draft.

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The 2012 squad (36-7-1) earned the school's first outright Orange Empire Conference title since 1987. It finished one win shy of equaling the school single-season record set by the 2009 state champions. Its .830 winning percentage was the best since 1957 and ranks third in the program's 64 seasons. The 18 conference wins were the most in the 26 seasons the Pirates have been competing in the Orange Empire Conference.

Sophomore Chris Carlson, the OEC Player of the Year, hit .421 with seven homers and 43 runs batted in and capped his two-year career with 83 RBIs and 10 homers. The outfielder is bound for New Mexico State

Starting pitchers Brandon Brennan (11-1) and Keegan Yuhl (11-2 with two saves) combined for the most wins in the same season by any one-two punch ever at OCC. Brennan, who battled into the 11th inning Saturday, finished with a 1.25 earned-run average, which ranks No. 4 all-time among those who worked at least 50 innings in a season.

Yuhl, the OEC Pitcher of the Year, is bound for New Mexico State, while Brennan has committed to the University of Houston.

Freshman leadoff man and center fielder Boog Powell finished with 75 hits, tied for third in the school single-season annals, and hit .398 with 49 runs.

Freshman Bijan Rademacher hit .349 with seven homers, 49 RBIs and, after he volunteered his blue-chip left arm to join the bullpen, collected four saves. He has committed to Oral Roberts.

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