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Occidental Baseball: A Strong Start to a Hopeful Season

by pkafka (writer), Eagle Rock, January 29, 2007

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With academic and athletic powerhouses such as UCLA and USC in the area, the athletic accomplishments of Occidental college are often overlooked. For those of you who do not know, Occidental college is a selective liberal arts institution in the Pasadena/Eagle Rock area. With a total of approximately 1,800 students, the population at Occidental college does not even come close to rivaling USC or UCLA, but the quality of entertainment can be just as good.

Although Occidental is known as an academic before athletics college, its accomplishments on the fields are just as impressive as its accomplishments in certain fields. The Occidental football and basketball teams have continually been ranked in national division three polls for the past few years; and this year, with a young coaching staff in only their second season behind the helm, and a talented and fresh roster, the baseball program is hoping to do the same.

For the past few years, the Occidental baseball program, unlike the rest of the school and athletic teams has not seen much success. However, this season looks as if it is going to be different. As a second year head coach and ex-professional baseball player, Elliot Strankman not only brings much knowledge but also energy to this hopeful baseball club. He is assisted by Jessie Carranza and Tommy McGrail, who are neither much older than their players nor any less knowledgeable than most college baseball coaches.

Along with great coaching, the Occidental baseball team also has very strong upper classmen leadership. The team is captained by second team All SCIAC (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) catcher, Adam Franks, as well as seniors Tyler Colville and Charlie Moffett. Along with these upper classmen captains, the team is happy to receive leadership from senior William (Andy or Juice) Crocker, who finished last season with a team high above four hundred batting average.

Regardless of their strong upper classmen presence, the team seemed to struggle last season, finishing with a fifteen and twenty-five record. However, this season seems to have a different outcome in store. With the addition of ten talented freshmen and three transfer students, the team will not only remain strong at the upper ranks but throughout the entire lineup.

Occidental competed in their first game this past weekend. On Saturday, January twenty-seventh, the team defeated the semi-professional Tinsel Town Terror four to three. The victory, although not completely surprising, was a very pleasant beginning to what seems to be the start of a successful season for Occidental baseball. The Terror, is a team comprised of current minor league players as well as many ex-professional baseball players.

Occidental was lead offensively by junior first basemen, Jonathan Birch who put Occidental on the board with a solo homerun in the second inning. Freshmen Patrick Sarkissian, and Glenn Gray also contributed with extra base hits. The epic game was tied at three until the bottom of the ninth when junior Matt Andersen finally ended the battle a RBI single up the middle. Sophomore Justin Goltz was the starting pitcher, he pitched three scoreless innings, but the win was attributed to fellow sophomore, and submarine dynamo, Marcus Stoiber.

Occidental looks forward to their forty game season, which picks up full steam this weekend when they host Simpson college (Redding, Ca) for a double header on Saturday February third. You can follow Occidental baseball at http://www.oxy.edu/Athletics.xml. And if the urge to see some high quality college baseball ever arises, try to over look the usual venues of USC and UCLA and make your way to Occidental’s scenic campus on a Friday afternoon to watch them try and fulfill their goal of being conference champions.



About the Writer

pkafka is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on Occidental Baseball: A Strong Start to a Hopeful Season

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By Steven Lane on January 29, 2007 at 12:50 pm
good local news
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