By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
College of the Canyons continued its dominance of the Western State Conference (WSC) men’s golf ranks by securing a 39-stroke victory to capture the program’s ninth straight conference title earlier this week.
Canyons, the defending state champs, turned in a five-man, 36-hole score of 737 (362/375) at Crystalaire Country Club on Monday to finish first in the field out of nine schools and secure a trip to next week’s California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Regional Championships.
COC freshman Corey Haase (150-70/80) fired a two-under round of 70 in the morning round to tie with Joey Herrera of Ventura for the top score on the front 18. Every Cougar finished the round with a score in the 70s to open up a commanding lead. Canyons wasn’t as dominant in round two, but still had five players shoot in the 70s to help extend the Cougars’ lead.
At day’s end, COC led second-place Allan Hancock (776 – 391/385), third place Ventura (786 – 397/389) and Santa Barbara City College (793 – 401/392), which snagged the fourth qualifying spot for the SoCal Championships.
Monday’s championship round caps a run through the WSC schedule in which the Cougars won 10 of 12 events.
In addition, COC freshman Jones Comerford (146 – 72/74) was named the WSC Player of the Year after ranking first in the conference in total strokes (882), adjusted strokes (726), average (73.5) and adjusted average (72.6). Adjusted scores are computed by dropping a player’s two highest rounds of the conference season. Only the 10 lowest scores are counted toward the adjusted season total.
Haase, Clemente Yanes (146 – 72/74), Clayton Kucera(147 – 72/75) and Michael Lindgren (152 – 76/76) each earned All-WSC First-Team honors after Monday’s championship event. They ranked third, fifth, eighth and 10th in the conference, respectively, in season-adjusted score totals.
Canyons head coach Gary Peterson was named WSC Coach of the Year. Peterson has guided the Cougars to a conference title every season dating back to 2010. The 2018 championship is the 24th in COC men’s golf program history, all coming under Peterson. The Cougars have also won eight state championships, including three in the last five seasons (2013, 2015, 2017). COC finished as runner-up in both 2014 and 2016.
The Cougars will look to continue that success at the CCCAA SoCal Regionals being played at Bakersfield Country Club on Monday. The 36-hole event is set to begin at 7 a.m.
Softball to Host First Round Regional Playoffs
The Cougars will have both an All-State Team honoree and All-SoCal Team selection in the lineup today when No. 8 seed Canyons takes the field vs. No. 9 Cerritos College in the opening round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs at Whitten Field.
The two teams will play a best-of-three series with Game 1 slated for 2 p.m. on Friday. Action will resume at noon on Saturday, with a potential third and final game scheduled to follow at approximately 2 p.m. that afternoon. Entry to CCCAA playoff contests is $12 for general admission and $8 for COC students and staff with ID, senior citizens and children under 12 years old.
Canyons (26-14, 16-0) finished the regular season as WSC, East Division Champions after completing a perfect 16-0 run through the conference schedule. COC has qualified for the postseason in seven straight seasons under COC head coach John Wissmath. A series win over the Falcons would send COC to the Super Regional round for the third year in a row.
Cerritos (22-16, 8-4) finished the regular season as runner-up in the South Coast Conference (SCC), South Division under head coach Kodee Murray.
The series will also showcase some of the top softball talent in the state.
Earlier this week, COC shortstop Danielle Chatman, the WSC East Player of the Year, was named to the California Community College Fastpitch Coaches Association (3CFCA) All-State Team. Chatman finished the regular season with a .424 average, and a team-leading 10 home runs and 49 RBIs.
COC outfielder Heidi Ludy was tagged a 3CFCA All-Southern California Team selection for the second time in her career. Ludy, who also earned All-WSC East First Team honors, led the Cougars with a .432 average and finished third on the club with 31 RBIs. Her 25 steals ranked second in the WSC.
Meanwhile, the Falcons will feature sophomore slugger Briana Lopez, a 3CFCA All-American and All-SCC First-Team selection who leads the state with 18 home runs and ranks fifth with 59 RBIs. Cerritos sophomore outfielder Brianna Spoolstra has also been a key contributor for the Falcons, leading the team with a .450 average and .538 on-base percentage to earn a spot on the 3CFCA All-Southern California Team.
Canyons and Cerritos previously met back on April 14, with the Falcons able to come away with a 16-7 victory at Whitten Field. In that contest, Cerritos opened up an early 7-0 lead before the Cougars clawed back with six unanswered runs. In the end, a six-run sixth inning helped push Cerritos over the top.
The two programs also met in the first round of the 2015 CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs, with Cerritos taking the series 2-0.
Baseball Begins Postseason with Trip to Palomar
No. 10 seed Canyons will travel to face No. 7 Palomar College in a best-of-three series to begin the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs May 4-5 in San Marcos.
Canyons (27-12, 16-4) won five straight, and 10 of its final 11, down the stretch but finished a game back of conference champion Glendale College in the Western State Conference (WSC), East Division.
As a team, Canyons batted .300 and ranked second in the state with 41 home runs. The COC pitching staff had an ERA of 3.84 for the season. COC outfielder Calvin Estrada finished the season with a team-high 13 home runs and a state-leading .458 batting average. Sophomore starting pitcher Jacob Lopez ended the year 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA and a state-best 119 strikeouts across 82 innings.
Palomar (26-14, 17-7) was champion of the Pacific Coast Conference to earn automatic host status for the regional playoff round. The Comets posted a .330 team batting average to rank second in the state. Palomar boasted two .400 hitters in Michael Galvan (.409) and Conor McKenna (.403), but hit just nine home runs as a team.
Canyons and Palomar will take the field for the series opener at 2 p.m. on Friday. Game two is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, with a potential third and final game slated to follow immediately after that contest.
For more information about the Cougars’ 17 intercollegiate sports programs visit www.COCathletics.com.