Saddleback baseball sends Hodges out on a high note


Leif Kemp

The Saddleback College baseball team made sure the Jack Hodges era ended the same way it began, victoriously. The Gauchos defeated Santa Ana College 3-0 last Wednesday, extending retiring coach Jack Hodges record number of wins to 578.

It was February 2, 1990, when Hodges earned his first victory at Saddleback; the Gauchos defeated Moorpark College 8-7. Twenty two years, and 577 victories later, Hodges retires as the all-time winningest coach in Saddleback College history leaving a 578-364-4 record.

Family, friends, and many former players listened to the pregame ceremonies as Saddleback College President Tod Burnett and Athletic Director Tony Lipold praised the poised coach recognizing Hodges for his class and dedication to his players.

Once the pregame festivities ended, it was time for baseball. Dylan Christensen, and Chasen White combined to throw a four-hitter in shutting out the Dons 3-0, while Tanner Gore and Elliot Martin provided the offense.

Christensen, a sophomore, pitched 6 ⅓ innings of 3-hit baseball before handing the ball to White. The freshmen White overpowered Santa Ana College, striking out 5 of the 8 batters he faced.

Santa Ana pitcher Ben Burke was equally impressive, scattering six hits over 6 ⅓ innings and holding the Gauchos scoreless before Saddleback broke through for three runs with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Gore singled and took second when Santa Ana shortstop, Trevor Mango, under threw first base resulting in an error. Ryan Forkel then sacrificed Gore to third base, and Christensen walked on five pitches.

Elliot Martin, fresh off signing a scholarship offer to Valparaiso University, then doubled down the left field line, scoring Gore for the games first run.

Santa Ana coach, Don Sneddon then replaced Burke with Seth Smith and instructed him to intentionally walk Saddleback first basemen, Lee Casas. Smith then uncorked a wild pitch scoring Christensen and advancing Casas and Martin to second and third base, respectively.

Brian Carcerano then flied out scoring Martin, before Smith retired Tyler Pugmire on a routine pop fly to end the inning.

White picked up the win with his stellar work, evening his season record to 1-1. Coach Hodges finishes his 42-year baseball coaching career with a record of 918-524-6.