It’s been a tale of two stories in 2011.
For the COC baseball team the season couldn’t have started the season much better as they finished non-conference play with an 8-5 record while defeating four teams in the top 20 Southern California rankings.
It hasn’t been as pretty for the other team swinging the bats at COC as its been a dismal start to the 2011 season for the softball team. After coming off of a 28-13-1 season that saw them capture their second straight Western State Conference championship under head coach John Wissmath, the ladies have started the new season with a 3-9 non-conference record.
Both teams are primed to begin their respected runs to Western State Conference championships this week. After losing their first conference game at West L.A. on Saturday, 3-2, the Cougars will host L.A. Mission college today at 2 p.m. for their first home conference game. While softball will host Bakersfield on Thursday, March 10 for a double header starting at 1 p.m. with game two scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
It appears as the Cougars baseball team will have a similar challenge in conference play as they did in non-conference play because three of the six teams they face in conference are in the top 20 in Southern California.
COC is led in the batters box by sophomore short stop Juan Perez who is hitting .391, one home run and nine RBI’s with a slugging percentage of .600. While returning All Conference player Cal Vogelsang is having another stand out season with a .350 batting average and two home runs and ten RBI’s. Sophomore outfielder Jeremy Weber is hitting .328 with three home runs and ten RBI’s while roaming center field for the Cougars this season.
Three pitchers have led the way for the Cougars on the mound in 2011; sophomores Cory Jones, Steven Messner and Troy Neiman all have ERA’s around 3. In four starts Jones has an ERA of 3.00 with two wins and one loss, he has also struck out 24 in non-conference. The lefty Messner is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.70 and he has struckout 17 in 16.2 innings. The Valencia product, Neiman, is 3-2 with an ERA of 4.26 in 5 starts.
Its been the exact opposite story for the softball team as the ladies have been struggling tremendously with a 3-9 record. The 2011 squad is a young group with only one returning player in sophomore pitcher and clean up hitter Karissa Hartwig. The lady cougars lost four players right before the season started due to either injuries or personal reasons.
COC has called upon Hartwig to be the leader on and off the field as coach Wissmath has her in the circle and the number four hitter in the line up. It’s been a struggle both in the circle and at the plate as her ERA is above three and her batting average is only two and a half.
Two freshman have stood out this season and both of them are alums from West Ranch high school. Catcher Amy Droege has a .345 average with one home run and seven RBI’s. The other West Ranch product, Bryanna De La Torre, is hitting .419 with six runs batted in and she leads the conference with nine stolen bases. De La Torre is the Cougars starting short stop this season stepping in for All Conference player Ruby Herrera. De La Torre was expected to be COC’s captain in the outfield as she was for the Wild Cats for four years in center field.
Keep posted with cougarnews.com as we will be covering both teams throughout their runs in conference play. Cougarnews.com will also stream games live throughout the season.