Sophomore first baseman Joe Quire ripped two triples and a double in a wild season finale but his Pasadena City College baseball team lost to host East Los Angeles, 11-9, Friday night. The Lancers finished the year at 13-23, a 3-win improvement from a season ago under second-year head coach Pat McGee.
PCC took seventh place in the South Coast Conference with a 7-14 league mark. Quire finished with the SCC's best slugging percentage of .614 (conference only) and was fourth in batting average (.400) and fourth in on-base percentage (.500).
Meanwhile, freshman designated hitter Jeremy Conant became the first Lancer this century to reach 60 hits in a season and the first since Kenny Okamuro (63) did it in 1999. Conant was 2-for-5 and totaled 61 hits, fifth best in the state. His 162 total at bats tied for the state lead with El Camino's Noah Barba. Freshman shortstop Alex Briggs was third in the state in total ABs with 159. Conant had the team's top overall batting average at .377 and he also led PCC in home runs (four) and RBI with 27.
In Friday's road defeat, the Lancers battled back from down 5-0 to eventually take a 9-8 lead in the top of the eighth on a 2-run double by transfer outfielder Brandon Benson. But ELAC regained the lead on a 2-run single by Seve Romo, the Huskies' starting pitcher and designated hitter, in the bottom of the eighth.
PCC had several players with solid overall offensive numbers. Quire hit .356 with a team-high 10 doubles, a home run, three triples and 23 RBI. The left-handed hitting letterman also led the Lancers in walks (20), on-base percentage (.469) and slugging percentage (.517, Conant was .512).
Sophomore catcher Justin Cage batted .319 with eight doubles and 17 RBI. Benson hit .294 with a home run, three triples and 25 RBI. Sophomore rightfielder Anthony Rabito batted .283 with a home run, eight doubles and 18 RBI while freshman second baseman Paul Christian hit .257 with a team-high four triples and 25 RBI. Briggs (.252) led the team in runs scored (34) and added 19 RBI.
Six Lancers reached 40 or more hits. The team batted .284 overall, the highest by a Lancers squad since 1999. PCC averaged 5.9 runs a game and scored more than 200 runs (213), also new standards for the 21st century.
Freshman Chris Brown led the pitching staff with four wins (4-3 record) and he posted a 3.78 ERA in 50 innings. Sophomore Anthony Mizrahi led the squad in ERA at 2.48 and strikeouts (35) in 40 innings. He added two saves.
The team's defense has made huge strides in the two seasons under McGee with a .956 fielding percentage (.958 last year), outfielding their opponents in both years. Quire led the team with a .980 percentage in a team-high 247 chances and Cage (.979) gunned out 14 runners trying to steal. Christian fielded .958 in 192 chances and Briggs (.915) proved to have one of the biggest ranges of any shortstop. His 124 assists was 16th in the state and he helped turn 21 double plays.
"We would have liked to have seen a better jump in victories, but I'm pleased with the way we produced offensively throughout the year," McGee said. "We're still going in the right direction. The big thing was our ability to fight back in games with our hitting. We had so many close games that went down to the final at bats."
PCC finished 3-7 in 1-run games and had three other losses that were by two runs. The Lancers potent offense contributed to a sparkling 7-0 record when the team reached 10 or more runs. Pasadena closed out conference play with a 5-4 winning mark over the final three series against El Camino College-Compton Center (a sweep), Mt. San Antonio and East Los Angeles.
Quire, Cage, Rabito were 2-year starters who closed out their Lancers careers as did pitchers Mizrahi, Eddie Gutierrez, Isaac Holguin and Orlando Marin.
[Photo--Joe Quire slugged the third of his three extra-base hits in his final Lancers game Friday night at East Los Angeles College, image by Richard Quinton.]