Gauchos prepare for playoffs after final season home game

Golden West beat Saddleback College 5-4 on Friday, April 27 (Holly Broxterman)

The Saddleback College Baseball team lost the final home game in the third of a series against Golden West last week, but the Mission Viejo team has not met the end of the season yet. The successful season the team had means they will be going to the playoffs despite the loss on Friday.

“We beat Golden West twice already, we beat them on Tuesday and we beat them on Thursday,” said Sommer McCartney, head coach of the Gauchos, the Saddleback College Baseball team, referencing the team’s games on April 24 and 26. “We took the series from them, so we’re going to go to the playoffs.”

Golden West started strong in the first inning, immediately scoring a 3 RBI home run by Anthony Marquez. Brett Auerbach responded in the first inning with Saddleback’s first score of the game. The Gauchos recovered in the 5th and 6th innings to tie with Golden West 4-4, before Kamalu Simeona earned the winning run for Golden West in the 9th inning, breaking the tie 5-4.

“It was disappointing,”McCartney said. “When you make five errors, that’s hard. We weren’t focused today.”

Although Saddleback lost the most recent game against Golden West, they played exceptionally well for the season regionally. Prior to Friday’s game, Saddleback ranked first in the Orange Empire Conference among eight other Orange County community colleges. This setback means Saddleback will now enter the playoffs ranked in second place at OEC following a successful season.

“Before the game, we had the highest RPI on the schedule in southern California, so we were number one and then we lost it,” McCartney said. “But I’m sure we’re going to be top three, we’re still going to be up there pretty high.”

According to the head coach, 16 teams go to the Southern California Regionals playoff, consisting of three rounds which determines which teams go to the state championship. Despite losing the final game of the season, the Saddleback Gauchos still have a chance to be state champions.