Riverside, OEC prove their worth in final CCCSIA State Baseball Top 25

State Champion Riverside City College tops the 2022 CCCSIA Top 25 Baseball Poll.
State Champion Riverside City College tops the 2022 CCCSIA Top 25 Baseball Poll.

PASADENA - When things were all said and done, the Orange Empire Conference once again had a team that were above all others. Riverside City College became the 17th state champion from the highly competitive OEC in the last 31 years of the CCCAA tournament as it tops the final 2022 CCCSIA State Top 25 Baseball Poll #8. 

The Tigers (38-12) were a monster in the postseason, winning nine of 10 games and closed the year with just two losses over their final 21 contests. RCC was the South's original #3 seed going into the playoffs and moved up four spots from its regular season state poll rank in receiving all 15 first-place votes.

In the championship game, RCC rallied to beat #2 Folsom Lake, 10-8, at FLC's home stadium. In all, four Orange Empire teams finished in the final top 10. The Big 8 had the most teams in the top 25 with five while the South Coast placed four, all in the top 20. The Golden Valley had three, each of those in the top 15. 

The North Region held its edge over the South, 13-12, in the make-up of the final poll. 

Here are the top teams in California Community College baseball in 2022, according to sports information professionals. 

1. RIVERSIDE CITY (38-12)--The Tigers won their first state crown since 2007 and fifth in RCC's history (all since 2000). Riverside swept #14 Grossmont, needed three games to get by #11 Cypress and swept #2 Glendale to reach the state tourney. At state, the Tigers scored 35 runs in three wins, two over the host Falcons and one over previous state #1 Ohlone. RF Matthew Bardowell knocked in the GW RBI single during a 5-run, 8th inning rally to put RCC over the top in the title game. Bardowell batted 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBI. MVP honors went to CF Julian Alvarez, who was 5-for-10 at the tourney. Ignacio Alvarez hit .475, with 4 doubles, 2 HR and 14 RBI in 10 postseason games. RANK JUMP: 4 SPOTS

2. FOLSOM LAKE (40-8-1)--When the Falcons secured a bid to host the 2022 CCCAA Championships, little did they know then how close they would come to winning a state title. With two walk-off victories the day before, FLC led 3-0, then 7-5 going into the eighth inning of the title game before Riverside pulled off its final rally. A state runner-up, a Big 8 title, and a 40 victory season certainly has placed this program among the elite. As the North's #2 seed, FLC swept #15 West Valley, #10 Butte and #3 San Joaquin Delta to advance. After an 11-9 loss to Riverside to open the tourney, Cole Tremain homered to tie it and then hit a double to win in the ninth over Palomar, 11-10. Jeff Bauser then hit a GW single up the middle to give the Falcons a 10-9 win over Ohlone. JT Waldon hit .349 with 4 HR and 16 RBI in 10 playoff games. RANK JUMP: 2 SPOTS.

3 OHLONE (45-6)--The Renegades saw their incredible 36-game win streak snapped in their playoff opener, a 5-3 loss to #17 seed Marin. But the North #1 seeded Ohlone recovered to win in three games, then needed three games, including a 4-3, extra-inning win in the final to get by #8 Los Medanos. The Renegades swept #2 Feather River to reach state. After a win over Palomar to open the championships, Ohlone lost two in a row for only the second time since the second week of the season in being eliminated. Mykanthony Valdez had a powerful postseason, hitting five home runs and driving in 17 RBI in the playoffs, and Damian Stone hit .362 with 3 HR, 15 RBI and 10 stolen bases in the playoffs. RANK FALL: 2 SPOTS.

4 PALOMAR (37-13)--Originally the South #5 seed, the Comets had a 14-game win streak stopped by #13 Pasadena City but went on to beat the Lancers in their 3-game opening round series. Palomar then did it again, winning the opener, losing the middle game and posting a triumph in the elimination final third game to get by #4 Santa Ana. In Round 3, the Comets took out the #1 seed Saddleback, sweeping the Bobcats, 8-5 and 10-5. At the state tournament, Ohlone's 7-run, 8th inning sent Palomar to an elimination game the next day. Palomar posted its own 7-run frame in the 6th for a 10-7 lead, but Folsom Lake rallied and won in a 9th inning walk-off. Tanner Lappin had a May postseason to remember, hitting .512 with 2 homers and 16 RBI over 10 games. Bryson Hashimoto matched Lappin by also batting .512 (each with 21 hits) in the Comets' high-scoring playoff run. RANK JUMP: 5 SPOTS

5 SADDLEBACK (36-10)--The Bobcats, the South's #1 playoff seed, opened the postseason by sweeping #18 LA Valley and and #8 Desert, allowing just three runs in four wins. But then the bubble burst on a 17-game win streak as #5 Palomar won two straight to close out Saddleback's successful year. Ryan Farmer allowed just one unearned run over 13 innings (eight hits) in posting two mound wins in the first two playoff series.

6 GLENDALE (38-9)--The South #2 Seed Vaqueros edged #17 Canyons in three games, then swept a strong #10 El Camino squad before Riverside ended their fine season with back-to-back wins in Round 3. Artin Biageyian hit 13-for-25 (.520) in the postseason. 

7 SAN JOAQUIN DELTA (34-12)--The North #3 Mustangs beat #14 Sierra in three games, swept #11 Lassen before Folsom Lake won two low-scoring, 1-run games to end the Delta season. Kieran Davis batted 12-for-25, slugging four home runs and 10 RBI in seven playoff games.  RANK FALL: 1 SPOT

8 SANTA ANA (32-12-1)--South #4 Dons swept #13 Santa Barbara CC before Palomar overtook them in a 3-game series in Round 2. SAC's pitching couldn't contain the Comets' bats as they allowed 36 runs in the three games. Ryan Stock opened the postseason with a walk-off RBI single in a 5-4 win over SBCC. He went on to hit 10-for-22 with a triple, 2 homers, eight runs and 11 RBI. RANK UNCHANGED.

9 FEATHER RIVER (36-11)--The North #4 Golden Eagles needed three games to get by #13 Cosumnes River, swept #5 Skyline before Ohlone stopped FRC's postseason run in two games. In the last four games, Ryan Blanchard did what he could to keep Feather River's season going as he hit 8-for-16 with 3 doubles, a HR and 9 RBI.  RANK JUMP: 1 SPOT

10. CYPRESS (24-22)--The South #11 Chargers upset #6 Mt. San Antonio in a hard-fought 3-game series during Round 1. Unfortunately for Cypress, it ran into its OEC foe Riverside in Round 2 and while stretching the series to the full three games, the season ended there. The state champ Tigers won five of six games v. Cypress this year. The Chargers made the biggest leap in the rankings to reach the final top 10. Noah Karliner batted .542 with 4 doubles, 2 HR and 11 RBI and Dean Toigo hit .519 in the regionals. RANK JUMP: 8 SPOTS

11 EL CAMINO (31-13)--The South #10 Warriors swept #7 Cuesta before Glendale ended their season in a 2-game sweep. ECC, the state finalist in 2019, commanded the most respect among a strong group of South Coast Conference teams in 2022. In the team's wild 15-14 playoff-opening win over Cuesta, Daniel Murillo had the hugest performance of the postseason by going a perfect 6-for-6 with 2 doubles, a triple and 5 RBI. RANK JUMP: 2 SPOTS

12 SKYLINE (32-10)--The North #5 Trojans swept #12 Modesto and lost two close ones to Feather River in its postseason trip. Against, FRC, Skyline lost 12-10 in 10 innings in its season finale. Michael Sarhatt was a run-producing machine as he was 7-for-14 with 2 doubles, 2 homers and 12 RBI in just four playoff games. RANK FALL: 1 SPOT

13 MT. SAN ANTONIO (33-10)--The South #6 Mounties were 2-3 in games against OEC schools in the regular season, an omen foreshadowing a 3-game series loss to #11 Cypress in the opening round of regionals. Damien Delgadillo was 5-for-8 in the series. 

14 LASSEN (29-16)--The North #11 Cougars were one of three Golden Valley Conference teams to sneak through the first round of regionals as they beat #6 Fresno in three games before Delta swept them in Round 2. Rafael Gutierrez batted 8-for-18 with 11 RBI in five playoff games. RANK JUMP: 5 SPOTS

15 BUTTE (28-16)--The North #10 Roadrunners bounced Santa Rosa in a 2-game sweep before Folsom Lake swept them to end Butte's year. Sergio Gutierrez was a brightspot as a reliever in the postseason with 8.2 innings of 4-hit ball and one earned run.  RANK JUMP: 6 SPOTS

16 FRESNO CITY (31-12)--The North #6 Rams were upset by #11 Lassen in three games in the opening round of regionals. Kristian Gomez homered twice and had 4 RBI in the series.  RANK FALL: 4 SPOTS

17 LOS MEDANOS (26-14)--The North #8 Mustangs swept Merced and pushed top seed Ohlone to the brink in a 4-3, extra innings loss of a hard-fought 3-game series in a fine season for Los Medanos. Ryan Pierce was a slugger's delight in the playoffs as he homered in four of the five postseason games with 10 RBI.  RANK JUMP: 8 SPOTS 

18 PASADENA CITY (28-15)--The South #12 Lancers stretched Palomar to a full 3-game series as their season ended in the opening round of regionals. PCC backup Collin Johnson collected a pinch hit in all three games v. the Comets. RANK FALL: 3 SPOTS

19 LONG BEACH CITY (29-14)--The South #9 Vikings were upended by #8 Desert in a close, 3-game, first round series. Matthew Pinal had three straight 2-hit games and batted .353 in the series. RANK FALL: 5 SPOTS

20 COLLEGE OF THE DESERT (28-17)--The South #8 Roadrunners earned respect throughout the state, defeating Long Beach in a 3-game series before losing a pair to Saddleback in Round 2. Spencer Dickinson made the most of his 5 hits in the postseason, slugging 3 homers, two doubles and driving in 7 RBI. UNRANKED LAST POLL

21 SANTA ROSA JC (25-16)--The North #7 Bear Cubs suffered two close 1-run losses to #10 Butte to be eliminated in the first round. After losing 4-3 in the opener, SRJC took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 12th inning of game #2 only to see Butte score two in the bottom of the frame in another 4-3 defeat. Bryce Cannon was 5-for-9 with a homer in the series.  RANK FALL: 5 SPOTS

22 CUESTA (25-17)--The South #7 Cougars were swept by El Camino in their opening round series. Zach Tallerman ripped 2 doubles, a HR and 4 RBI in the wild 15-14, first game loss. RANK FALL: 2 SPOTS

23 SIERRA (25-17)--The North #14 Wolverines pushed #3 Delta before losing in three games in the opening round of regionals. Alex Johnson batted 7-for-12 (.583) with 5 runs scored in the series. RANK FALL: 1 SPOT

24 MERCED (27-15)--The North #9 Blue Devils were tripped up in two games by #8 Los Medanos in the opening round of regionals. Trent Mallonee was 3-for-9 with 3 RBI in the series. RANK FALL: 7 SPOTS

25 MODESTO JC (24-15)--The North #12 Pirates were swept by Skyline in the first round of regionals. Sammy Augustine went 4-for-8 with 2 doubles, a HR and 5 RBI in the two playoff contests.  RANK FALL: 2 SPOTS

OTHERS: College of the Canyons (22-22), Los Angeles Valley (27-16, 24 LR), Golden West (22-18), College of Marin (26-18), West Valley (25-18), Fullerton (20-20), Orange Coast (17-23), Southwestern (24-17), Cosumnes River (22-18), Santa Barbara City (23-19), Grossmont (22-18).

State Stat Leaders
Batting Champion: Palomar's Jack Sanders, .456
Home Run King: College of the Canyons' Tafton Hensley and Palomar's Devlin Lindeman, both with 15,
RBI Leader: Ohlone's Jeter Ybarra, 71
Stolen Base Leader: Damian Stone, 54,
ERA Champion: Fresno City's Noah Galvan, 1.38
Pitching Wins Leader: Folsom Lake's Sky Wells, 12
Strikeouts Leader: Cosumnes River TJ Czyz, 117
Saves Leader: Palomar's Austin Schroeder and Merced's Cesar Avila, 12. 

Baseball Poll Coordinator/Release by Robert Lewis, CCCSIA Executive Board