Steve Pearse had a vision for the Reedley College baseball team when he took over as coach in July 2010.
The former Fresno State standout’s vision included a berth in the NorCal Regionals, which the Tigers hadn’t reached for many years.
Reedley (24-12) received the 16th seed and will host No. 17 Feather River (24-12) in a single-elimination game at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
1963 The last time Reedley College reached the the JC baseball playoffs
It is Reedley’s first playoff appearance since 1963, said Central Valley Conference historian Dick Hamilton.
That is a span of 53 years.
Reedley College coach Steve Pearse’s reaction when he learned the last time the Tigers appeared in the JC baseball playoffs
“Holy cow,” Pearse said. “Wow – that’s crazy. That’s a long time and hopefully we can get on a streak here.”
Pearse’s players were equally surprised to learn of the long drought.
“It’s been awhile,” shortstop Sawyer Pittman said. “We got to where we’re at because of the hard work we’ve put in and how the whole team bonded together. Bonded really fast since the fall season and it kept growing. I really do think our bond played a huge role in how we played, but I don’t understand why it took so long (to get back to the playoffs).
Catcher Alan Crowley wondered the same thing but is delighted to see his team in the playoffs.
I’m just grateful to be the team to put us back on the map. It’s been a long time.
Tigers catcher Alan Crowley
“I’m just grateful to be the team to put us back on the map,” he said. “It’s been a long time and it’s cool to be the team to break that (drought).”
The Tigers earned a trip to the playoffs after finishing second in the CVC. Other playoff appearances for the Tigers came in 1951, ’53, ’54 and ’60.
Tigers pitcher Evan Sagariballa, who is slated to start Tuesday, said the playoff berth “is a great accomplishment.”
“That’s what we wanted to do: get in the playoffs,” he said. “Everybody has been putting in the effort, one for all. It’s a new season and just have to take this one game at a time.”
The Tigers practiced Sunday in advanced of their game against Feather River and kept the same routine that got them to the postseason.
“We try to win every single game,” Crawley said. “I’m just excited to see how things go and just ready to play.”
Pearse believed in his players because “I knew we have a great group of kids.”
“Just molding them and they just collectively have grown together,” he said. “They’ve done a good job and they knew it was a long time and they’ll be gratified. They just want to keep playing and be together.”
JC Baseball: NorCal Regionals
- Tuesday: No. 17 Feather River (24-12) at No. 16 Reedley (24-12), 2 p.m.; No. 18 Canada (17-18) at No. 15 Marin (23-13) – both are single-elimination games
- Friday: No. 11 San Mateo (23-13) at No. 6 Fresno City (26-10), 3 p.m.; No. 1 Santa Rosa (29-6) vs. TBD; No. 9 San Joaquin Delta (25-11) at No. 8 Butte (29-7); No. 12 Los Medanos (24-12) at No. 5 Mission (26-10); No. 13 De Anza (21-15) at No. 4 Cabrillo (25-11); No. 14 Folsom Lake (23-13) at No. 3 Sacramento City (27-9); No. 10 Chabot (23-13) at No. 7 Laney (26-10); No. 2 Cosumnes River (28-8) vs. TBD
- Saturday: No. 11 San Mateo at No. 6 Fresno City , 1 p.m.; No. 1 Santa Rosa vs. TBD; No. 9 San Joaquin Delta at No. 8 Butte; No. 12 Los Medanos at No. 5 Mission; No. 13 De Anza at No. 4 Cabrillo; No. 14 Folsom Lake at No. 3 Sacramento City; No. 10 Chabot at No. 7 Laney; No. 2 Cosumnes River vs. TBD
- Tickets: $8 for students, faculty, children and seniors; $12 for adults