After struggling in recent weeks, losing four games in a row, the LBCC Vikings’ men’s baseball team have found their rhythm, breaking school records on their way to a five-game winning streak secured by their 9-2 walk-off victory over the Santa Ana College Dons on Tuesday, March 27.
The Dons jumped to 2-0 lead early in top the first inning but were unable to score again for the rest of the game, overwhelmed by the Vikings’ strong hitting and pitching throughout the last eight innings.
The Vikings showed great pitching from freshman Bryan Sandoval and sophomore Giovanni Ceballos, who held the Dons to seven hits, finishing with three strikeouts.
Viking’s pitching coach Rylie Ogle credits strong pitching for the bulk of their recent success: “When we hold teams down to less than 5 runs we have a really good shot, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Ogle said.
Freshman catcher David Balboa thinks the improved pitching from the Vikings has allowed their offense to prosper: “Our pitching has definitely improved,” Balboa said, “Its keeping us in the ball game and giving us a chance for our hitters to put together some good at-bats and make adjustments when have to and score some runs”
LBCC also proved to be unstoppable offensively for the remainder of the game, scoring nine runs in five innings, including two solo home runs by sophomore third baseman Reese Berberet and sophomore first baseman Bobby Funk in the bottom of the fifth.
Berberet added to his LBCC records for single season and career home runs, which were both broken in a double-header sweep of Compton College.
Berberet seemed very happy with his accomplishments: “It feels pretty good because I was really good friends with the guy that beat it last year, Vincent Byrd, and this year just got a lot easier for me and it feels nice to do it,” Berberet said.
After the 9-2 win over Santa Ana, the Vikings’ record improves to 15-12 overall and they are currently 6-5 in the CCCAA South Coast Conference, where they are in third place. They face the Dons again at Santa Ana College on Thursday, March 29.