Grossmont College begins season with a six game winning streak
When it comes to America’s favorite pastime, very little often changes. But the last few years have seen some significant alterations in the landscape of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC), in which Grossmont Community College plays to win every season.
Two new colleges have been added to the conference in the last several years, College of the Desert (COD) and San Bernardino, both of which are geographical outliers and have increased the overall travel commitments for regionally based San Diego teams.
But despite the changes in competitive landscape, the Grossmont Griffins seem to be doing fine. Currently on a six-game winning streak, the Griffins came into conference season with a 5-5-1 record and have not lost a single game since. Sweeping San Bernardino and Southwestern College (SWC), Grossmont’s club is showing a lot of promise. Head Coach Randy Abshier said that their mostly sophomore staff is a huge factor in their successes so far.
“We have a lot of good players who came back from last year, so we’re sophomore-loaded,” he said. “It shows in our performance, in the way they approach the game. It’s a maturity factor: knowing what counts to hit in, knowing when to run, and taking a look at a pitcher and knowing what he’s going to pitch in certain situations.”
According to Abshier, that second year on the roster makes a big difference.
“A lot of the younger kids are still trying to find themselves fresh out of high school,” he said. “The older kids, meaning second year at a community college, get to figure out who they are when it comes to their approach at the plate.”
Grossmont played SWC in a three-game series last week and easily handled the struggling Jaguars who are having trouble finding their swing.
SWC’s head coach, Jay Martel, who is training a largely freshmen bench this season, said Grossmont is a well-rounded club.
“They’ve got a nice club,” he said. “They pitch it, they swing it, they catch it a little bit. The difference is just a little bit more experience.”
Abshier said it is a competitive conference, but that he was relieved to perform so well against SWC.
“This is an important series for us to win if we’re going to get to where we want to be to win a championship,” he said. “We have to get through Southwestern.”
They also have to get through COD, the teams longest drive for a conference game this year, about three hours. It may be longer than they are used to, but sophomore Michael Diffley said it is a good chance for the team to bond.
“We enjoy the bus rides,” he said. “That’s how we get our team chemistry. We get along this way.”
Diffley, who made a verbal commitment to San Diego State University, is one of several on the team who are preparing to transfer to universities around the country. Sophomore Donivan McCrystal, a West Hills graduate, will be attending University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the fall, and is also an Academic All-State Award recipient. Sophomore Robert Bostedt was selected as one of the PCAC’s Men’s Athletes of the Week for February 27-March 5.
Abshier said he is proud of his athletes’ achievements.
“We have a long tradition of getting guys out and it shows this year,” he said.
But before the Griffins can play in bigger ponds, they have to finish out this season, and the larger conference provides a unique challenge for them this year.
“What hurts the dynamic is that we have nine teams in the conference and we’re only guaranteed two playoff spots,” said Martel. “That’s a lot of teams for only two spots.”
So far, the Griffins are well lined up to snag a place in playoffs, but the season has only just begun. They have seven more game series to play, including one against Palomar College, which is likely to be a nail-biter.
But Diffley said he and his teammates could handle it.
“We’re not worried about anything,” he said. “Our team is confident. We’re going to do big things this year.”