By Richard Mejia
After finishing the 2014 regular season with a great degree of momentum, the Vikings were swiftly eliminated by Santa Ana in the opening round of the Southern California regional playoffs.
The Vikings began their three-game playoff series Friday, May 3, at Santa Ana College with a 17-6 lopsided loss. LBCC surrendered five runs in first inning as freshman Tanner Levine struggled early against the Santa Ana powerhouse offense.
Sophomore first baseman Nolan Flashman led the offensive effort for the Vikings as he went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
Following the Game 1 loss, the Vikings kept things competitive for Game 2 on Saturday, May 4, yet failed to conquer their opponent in a 6-1 loss to give Santa Ana the series sweep and advance to the next round.
The Vikings displayed a valiant effort and seemed poised to rally back from an early 2-1 deficit, but as it had gone for them at the beginning of the season, they failed to come back and faltered late.
Sophomore outfielder Ryan Dickinson generated the only offense for the Vikings as he went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Sophomore outfielder Stefan Miladinovich said, “The team has been good about getting the offense going, especially toward the fourth and fifth innings. I don’t know what happened this time, we just couldn’t wake our bats up.”
Coming off a month where the Vikings conjured up a seemingly endless string of runs, the offense during their playoff run was absolutely cold and the lack of pitching consistency spelled doom for the Vikings.
Freshman first baseman Jordan Ybarra said, “We tried hard, but we just couldn’t figure it out. At the very least, this loss makes us more focused for next season.”
The Vikings finished the season with a 21-17 record going 15-6 in conference play and shared the South Coast Conference title with Cerritos and East Los Angeles College.
Flashman and freshman infielder Michael Thomas led the team in hitting as Flashman finished the season with a batting average of .370 while adding 32 RBIs and two home runs. Thomas finished the season with an average of .320 to go along with 11 RBIs and 48 hits.
Sophomore ace Manuel Barragan led all pitchers this season with an ERA of 2.07 to go along with 44 strikeouts and a 6-2 record.
With a disappointing ending to the season, the Vikings can take some solace in knowing that they have the bulk of their team returning next season, with the exception of standout sophomore Nick Wood, who has signed a letter of intent to play for Oral Roberts University.