Baseball Back in The Swing of Things

Mounties set hopeful eyes on next season post-pandemic


Mt. SAC Baseball gathers near the home dugout at Mazmanian Field on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo Credit: John Athan.

After a tumultuous past year and against all odds, Mt. SAC Baseball put on a competitive season that showcased the future of the program.

The Mounties were able to complete 28 games with nearly 80 percent of other baseball programs in Southern California opting out of playing due to the pandemic.

Despite finishing 15-13 on this unique season after a 9-7 loss against Irvine Valley College, excitement still reigns along the diamond at Mt. SAC’s Mazmanian Field with expectations set high for next season.

“Our guys got a chance to do something that most of the teams at our level didn’t get to do,” Mounties head coach John Knott said. “I think there was a difficult part of actually getting this going because we were basically clear to practice almost less than 30 days before our first game.”

With limited time before the first pitch was thrown in the opening game of the season, the task to quickly build chemistry within the ballclub proved to be daunting, as half of the roster hadn’t even met in person due to COVID-19 restrictions being enforced statewide.

However, the team managed to secure a record above .500 even with all of the challenges and circumstances that surrounded the season.

“I was impressed with how well the guys bought into it. We had very little issues to deal with and if we did have an issue, it was health, which was because we were expected to play that many games with so few days to prepare,” Knott said. “I was also impressed at how the guys were willing to conform, adapt and how competitive we were.”

One of the standouts this season was freshman utility player Cole Jordan, who batted .311 and drove in a team high 25 RBIs this season.

“Cole was outstanding for us from day one. Great kid, high motor, hard working off the field and by far our best base runner,” Knott said. “In a lot of our games, he was a big reason why we were competitive by stealing an extra bag while the game was still close.”

Another standout to note was freshman left-hander Michael Ortega, who had an ERA of 3.19 and pitched 31 innings this year.

“He probably was our most consistent pitcher,” Knott said. “Very competitive, he throws all of his three pitches for strikes. He came to us from University of Hawaii Hilo last year and is just a competitor that wants the ball in big situations.”

Knott acknowledged that with playing in the middle of a pandemic and with no fall or winter for practice and training, the simple act of finishing the season was a remarkable feat on its own.

However, it was how the team finished the season — winning six of the last seven games — that brought praise for the young squad.

“I was really impressed at how competitive we were in every game and how resilient too,” Knott said. “There were a number of games that we had lost and were up in the later innings and the next games I thought we competed right from the get-go.”

The Mounties look to pick up right where they left off for next season, and with the team retaining most of its young core, the task of returning to championship form looks to be well within reach.

“We feel like we will bring back a group that is expected to compete for a conference championship and win a state championship,” Knott said. “Those are our goals and we are preparing for them now.”