Baseball Clinches Third Title, Exits Playoffs Early

Despite a record 32 best regular season wins, Mounties had their season ended early


Joshua Sanchez

Second team All-SCC selection Trent Merrill pitches to the Cypress Chargers during playoffs on May 7.

Coming back from an extended break due to the pandemic, Mazmanian Field saw its first action in over a year as Mt, SAC baseball returned to form.

The Mounties dominated January with convincing wins against Victor Valley Rams (12-3) and San Bernardino Valley Wolverines (13-0), where they scattered runs throughout the first five innings against the Rams and a dominant 8 run inning against the Wolverines.

February was a mixed bag for the Mounties.

Despite beating the Wolverines in their second matchup (9-2), their six-game win streak would be crushed by Fullerton Hornets after they traded wins on Feb. 8 and Feb. 10.

The dominance of five plus runs began to go against the team in that first loss to the Hornets (10-2), and the team picked up five losses that month to end at an overall record of 9-5.

After the Mounties lost a close one on Feb. 26 when the Pasadena City Lancers (4-3) took the game in a close call, the Mounties either won by a huge margin or lost by one. This led to adjustments by the coaching staff for the next 13 games in March.

The Mounties had found their footing with these changes.

After losing to the Long Beach Vikings (7-5) on March 3, the team picked up the rest of their games that month.

Eight of their games were won by large margins: The Long Beach Vikings (11-5 and 17-2), Barstow Vikings (14-1), Rio Hondo Roadrunners (10-4 and 13-2), Cerritos Falcons (25-7) and the L.A. Harbor Seahawks (15-7).

Four of them were closer games: Cerro Coso Coyotes (6-5), Falcons again (10-6 and 8-5) and the Seahawks again (9-7).

These close games between the Mounties and Seahawks would lead to the Mounties dropping their next matchup (6-11) before regaining a streak in April. This streak had the Mounties go on a tear to sweep the East Los Angeles Huskies (3-2, 10-5 and 8-6), Citrus Owls (11-8 and 7-5) and Compton Tartars (21-2, 17-3 and 13-5).

In between those games was a rollercoaster ride against the Ventura Pirates on April 16.

A non-conference game, the Mounties seemed like they were willing to drop this home game for the first six innings.

The Pirates improved their hitting in the second inning when three Pirates were able to score to put the Mounties down three by the bottom of the second. Unable to bat their way out of the deficit, the Mounties started to look defeated as the Pirates tacked on another run in the fourth and fifth.

When the Mounties struck out in the sixth inning having been held scoreless, the feeling of hopelessness ballooned.

The Pirates added two more runs to the count and put the Mounties down seven without a single point on the board.

Just when Pirates looked to shut out the Mounties for good, the bottom of the Mounties’ rotation began to work its magic.

At the bottom of the seventh inning, down by seven, the Mounties rallied and had almost their entire bullpen score a run against the Pirates.

Elijah Pelayo’s (5) double allowed C.J. Ontiveros (11) to score the Mounties’ first run. This was followed by Will Bermudez’s (2) single that allowed Pelayo to score.

Cristian Enriquez (40) brought Bermudez home and a Blake Borgogno (1) triple took Enriquez and Brent Cota (29) home along with him.

After a catcher’s error, Alex Reynozo (39) advanced to third and allowed Jacob Moreno (6) to steal third and score. Off yet another Pelayo single, Reynozo ran in for another point.

Now leading, 8-7, the pitcher took out his frustration on Bermudez and hit him with two wild pitches to walk him.

Bermudez received his first hit when the shortstop fouled off a pitch that would have otherwise been a ball. He reeled from the hit instantly as it came off of him and the bat.

He immediately dropped to the floor in pain, but Bermudez recovered in a minute or so instead of having someone else pinch-hit, and he walked back up to bat with a slight limp before taking his next swings.

The second wild pitch hit him in the side, but now it was clear that this was an intentional move instead of a tip off the bat and some inside balls. The ball ended up making contact in the same place that a Pirate had slid into him as he fielded in a prior inning, and the umpire signaled him to walk.

Bermudez hobbled to the base and tapped it before walking off temporarily. Instead of using a pinch runner, Bermudez would stay at the plate.

Poetically, Bermudez scored the final run of the game off Enriquez’s single to end the game 11-7. As he scored, several members of the bullpen were amazed by Bermudez’s performance.

Among the accolades, one could be heard saying “You’re a f—ing God, Will!”

The Mounties closed out the regular season by winning two of three games against the El Camino Warriors (6-3, 10-11 and 11-4). The middle game was dropped in an overtime battle.

This performance was enough for the Mounties to clinch their third consecutive South Coast Conference title with a program record of 32 wins in the regular season.

Standouts include:

  • SCC pitcher of the year, Michael Flores (15)
  • First team All-SCC selections
    • Utility Cristian Enriquez (40)
    • Outfielder Brent Cota (29)
    • Infielder Will Bermudez (2)
    • Pitcher Jeffrey Isenhart (34)
  • Second team All-SCC selections
    • Outfielder Nin Burns II (31)
    • Outfielder Art Ruiz (10)
    • Infielder Blake Borgogno (1)
    • Pitcher Trent Merrill (30)

The team was ranked No. 1 in the state for runs scored (409) and on-base percentage (.446). The Mounties also ranked second in the state for triples (30), batting average (.344) and RBIs (360).

With such high praise, there were even higher expectations as the team took on the Cypress Chargers, a team they had beaten 7-1 on Feb. 17, for the first round of the playoffs on May 6.

As the sixth seed for the California Community College Athletic Association Championships, with a record of 32-8, the Mounties were the heavy favorites against the eleventh seeded Chargers with a 21-19 record.

Cypress opened the game by scoring two runs before Mt. SAC responded with three of their own from Cota, Borgogno and Enriquez.

Their 3-2 lead was preserved until the Chargers tied it up with a homer in the fourth, but Ruiz answered back with a home run of his own in the bottom of the fifth.

Despite leading most of the game, the Mounties got tired in the top of the sixth inning and allowed two runs that would be the dagger in their 4-5 loss to the Chargers.

With this loss, the Mounties needed to get back to back wins on May 7.

They battled hard and forced a game three after scoring two runs in the third, three in the fifth, and three in seventh.

When their pitching dwindled their 9-6 lead down to a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Ruiz scored the last run to end it 10-8.

The series got tied up, both teams looked exhausted.

But the Mounties appeared to have some energy left by scoring five runs in the bottom of the second inning, and even traded runs in the third.

Then in the seventh, the team’s pitching struggled once more.

Their 6-3 lead turned into a 6-12 deficit by the end of the top of the eighth. Although the Mounties would score three more to make it close for the top of the ninth, the Chargers put it away with three more runs to end the game 9-15.

It was a tough loss, but the Mounties showed heart and kept trying until the end.

Ending with a record 33-10 season that included 19-5 in conference play, the Mounties will look to continue their SCC title streak next season and make a deeper run in the playoffs.