On Friday, the last day of school, Hart baseball’s Cole Roederer and Bryce Collins had one last final to take care of: Art class.
Twenty PowerPoint slides of Andy Warhol later, the pair aced their final presentation and, according to a half-joking Roederer, the result meant that the Indians were going to win their game that afternoon.
It turned out he was right, as Hart coasted to a 3-0 win over Los Alamitos in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 tournament at Hart.
Collins threw a complete game, holding the Griffins (19-12) to just one hit and recording nine strikeouts.
“We know how good we are,” Collins, the Indians’ starting pitcher, said. “We know we can beat anybody so we came out today. We’re looking to do it again next time. Just everything on the line every game.”
Josh Cerpa jump-started Hart’s offense in the first inning with a double in the Indians’ first at-bat. After Cooper Austin proceeded to first base on a wild pitch, Cody Jefferis hit an RBI single for a 1-0 lead.
The Indians (20-12) added another run in the second frame. In his first playoff appearance of his varsity career, Kyle Smisko hit an RBI single to drive in David Holuby.
Smisko also secured a steady job at catcher for the remainder of the playoff season.
“Every time I’ve thrown to him he’s gotten a little bit better every time,” Collins said, “and today he was getting really good range on the curve ball, especially the fastball out. He looked solid today.”
The junior continued to contribute in the fourth inning, scoring a run for Hart on a sacrifice fly.
“Offensively it was probably my best game of the year,” Smisko said. “…I was just trying to stay short, put the ball in play and hit the little flare in my first at-bat, and then got my timing down a little better in my second at-bat and just drive in a run and help the team.”
The Indians will next play Cypress, who beat Mission Viejo 5-4, in the second round of the CIF-SS playoffs on Tuesday.
Last season, Hart was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
“First round I think is the most nerve-racking,” said Indians coach Jim Ozella. “A lot of guys haven’t played last year in the playoffs, so it’s kind of a new experience for them.
“…I’m really proud of our guys for performing today and getting off to a good start.”