Joey Fregosi's well-placed infield single with the bases loaded capped off a walk-off, come-from-behind, 8-7 win over El Camino to win the 2019 California Community College Baseball State Championship on Tuesday at Fresno City College's John Euless Ballpark.
The win, coupled with a 7-5 win over the Warriors in the earlier game, gave the Pirates (39-9-1) their seventh state baseball championship and 94th overall title in school history.
"I told these guys when we got here this weekend that we were on our final chapter of this great story and it was up to us to write what type of ending it would be," OCC head coach John Altobelli said. "Man, do I love this final chapter.
"These guys never quit when it could've been so easy to. We dug deep and we had players step up for us that didn't get a lot of playing time for us all year and they got it done. What a special group this is."
With Coast leading 5-4 after six innings, El Camino (40-9) delivered a big blow to the Pirates' chances when Matt Beserra came through with a two-run home run over the left-field wall, putting the Warriors up, 6-5.
But the Pirates showed the heart of a champion when Tyler Lasch and Murphy Stehly singled to start the bottom of the seventh. After a sacrifice bunt by Jacob Gentry moved over both runners, David Morgan came through with a two-run double to right-center, giving OCC a 7-6 lead.
The Warriors, playing inspired baseball all season long after losing one of their teammates, Sladen Mohl to an automobile accident on April 18, refused to quit. Taishi Nakawake led off the top of the eighth with a double to left and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of Spencer Palmer.
Controversy ensued three batters later when, with runners on second and third, a fly ball down the right-field line off the bat of Ty Conrad bounced off of Anderson's glove and appeared to score two runs, but, the umpires ruled the ball foul and Conrad followed with a inning-ending ground ball to second, keeping the score tied at 7.
In the ninth, after reliever Davis Delorefice worked out of a first-and-second, nobody-out jam, Coast began to write its final chapter. Todd Jackson led off with a walk and advanced to second on a Stehly single to right. After a sacrifice bunt by Caleb Anderson moved over both runners, Morgan was intentionally walked to load the bases and Fregosi stepped up with the season on the line. Not playing with an injured elbow, the sophomore infielder bounced the first pitch into the hole to the right of shortstop Nakawake at short. There was no play to be made as Jackson scored, sending an eruption of celebration on the side of the Pirates.
"What a perfect kid to end our season with," Altobelli said of Fregosi. "His year wasn't as strong as he would've liked it to be, but he never stopped working and he kept his head up. When he got his opportunity, he delivered."
OCC starting pitcher Cole Van Den Helder was named the State Tournament MVP after coming back on two days rest to throw five strong innings after throwing 118 pitches on Saturday night against Sacramento City. On Tuesday, he allowed four runs (all unearned) on nine hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
Coast became just the third team since 2000 to win the state title by playing four games over the final two days (Santa Rosa, 2005 and San Joaquin Delta in 2011).