Saddleback baseball snaps losing streak, Coach Hodges to retire after 22 years

Chasen White pitched 2 innings of shutout baseball to pick up the save against Golden West (Leif Kemp)

Leif Kemp

It was a week of streaks for the Saddleback College baseball team. The Gauchos ended one streak and began another as the Gauchos seek to wrap up the 2011 season strong in what was announced last week will be Coach Jack Hodges final season.

Saddleback’s all-time winningest coach announced this week that he is retiring as coach of the Gauchos ending his streak at 22 years. Hodges and the Gauchos look to add to his already record 574 victories when they host Santa Ana College in the season finale April 28, 2011.

Saddleback lost 9-3 to inter-district rival Irvine Valley College Tuesday, April 12, effectively knocking the Gauchos from playoff contention and completing a sweep for IVC thus extending the Gauchos losing streak to seven games.

The Gauchos then returned and began a winning streak by pounding Golden West College 12-4 Thursday, April 14, and turning right back around and taking a 6-3 victory the following day in a 13 inning marathon to sweep the Rustlers.

Saddleback used strong performances by sophomore pitcher, Jordan Helmkamp, and freshman, Chasen White to defeat Golden West.

Helmkamp went 6.2 innings, allowing 4 runs, while scattering 11 hits, striking out five, and giving up only one walk before giving way to the freshman, White who went the final 2.1 innings without giving up a run.

The Saddleback offense also came alive as the Gauchos collectively broke out of a hitting drought that has lasted close to a month. The Gauchos banged out 13 hits against Golden West pitchers, and were led by sophomore right fielder Spencer Kuehn, and freshman designated hitter, Lee Casas.

Kuehn finished the day 3 for 5, scoring twice and driving in two RBI’s. Casas, who also plays first base, drove in four RBI’s on 2 for 5 hitting.

The Gaucho’s are on the road this week participating in The Easter Classic Tournament at College of The Sequoias in Visalia, Ca. The Gauchos are scheduled to take on Reedley College, College of The Sequoias, and Bakersfield College

Saddleback looks to finish their season on a winning note, and bring the Jack Hodges era to a victorious end when it hosts Santa Ana College in the final home game of the coach’s illustrious career on April 28, 2011.

With the sweep of Golden West, Saddleback improves its record to 14-17 overall, and 7-12 in Orange Empire Conference play. Santa Ana comes in atop the OEC standings and is currently ranked number 2 in Southern California with a 22-9 overall record, 15-4 in the OEC.

Hodges who this year became Saddleback College’s all-time winningest coach is in his twenty second year with the Gauchos, and has been a head coach in Southern California for forty two years.

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