(Mission Viejo, CA) For the first time in 53 years, the Mt. San Antonio College Baseball Team is headed back to the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships after a dramatic, 3-2, win over host Saddleback College.
The win came on Sunday, in the third and deciding game of the So Cal Sectional Finals and will give the Mounties an opportunity to capture the colleges' third championship in program history.
"It was a great feeling to hit that," Sandoval said. "My job was to contribute as much as I could to this program and the fact that I was able to do it on this stage was incredible."
"From the beginning of the year we knew we had something special on this team."
Mt. SAC's only two titles were in back-to-back years (1964 & 1965), with their last state playoff appearance in 1965.
The Mounties (35-12) are the No. 2 seed from the south and will open up against North No. 1 seed, San Joaquin Delta (40-8). The game will be held at Fresno City College, on Saturday, May 26th at 6:00 pm. The state final four also pits South No. 1 Orange Coast College (33-13) vs. North No. 2 Sacramento City (33-14).
"We are incredibly proud of these guys," said second-year coach John Knott. "To be able to stay that focused under this much pressure and for the third consecutive day, says a lot about their dedication and perseverance."
"This was a hard-fought game and could have gone either way. Our guys kept working, stayed with it and we came out on top."
Kampen, the South Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year, scattered eight hits, allowed two runs and struck out four batters.
"Jacob really stepped up after a rough first inning to go 8 2/3 innings," Knott said. "He got better as the game got going and made crucial pitches to work out of jams."
The emotional roller coaster of a game came down to the last out, when ace starter Mason Corneliussen, (12 game winner this season) was called in from the bullpen.
"Mason came back on short rest to record the final out," Knott said. "He has been an absolute bulldog this season so we wanted him to decide our fate with the final out."
"He was able to get their hitter to foul out. It was awesome feeling to see him finish this thing out."
Freshman left fielder Elijah Greene (2 for 4) and sophomore shortstop Elijah Zaragoza (2 for 4) led the team with two hits each, but the biggest hit of the game was by Michael Sandoval (1 for 3, R, 3 HR, 3 RBIs).
"Sandoval had a huge two-out, home run to give us a 3-1 lead," Knott said. "He was big for us all series."
Sandoval recorded three hits and seven RBIs in the series.
In addition, the defense stepped up big for the Mounties turning two double plays and no errors.
"I can't say enough about our defense today," Knott said. "They worked together, played with intensity and were ready with each pitch."
CCCAA Baseball State Championship Bracket
Tournament Headquarters (links for playoff brackets, webcasts, live stats, final stats, recaps)
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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.