It has been almost 23 years to the day since Ron Scott’s Fresno City College baseball team last won a state championship.
That day, May 25, 1992, is still a vivid memory for coach and ex-players alike.
Two outs, bottom of the ninth, with the winning run on third.
Kevin Howard bounced a single up the middle to score Scott Taglione for a 3-2 victory over Sacramento City in Riverside, as the Rams secured their first state title in 20 years.
“Funnest year I’ve ever had,” Howard said. “Coaching staff like Ron Scott, Eric Solberg, Jim Ferguson and Dave Meier … we had so much fun that year. For it to end the way it did it was priceless.”
Last Rams’ state title win was May 25, 1992
The Northern California No. 2-seeded Rams will get a chance to end their latest title drought this weekend as they host the state final four at Euless Ballpark.
Fresno City faces South No. 1 Palomar at 6 p.m. Saturday. North No. 1 San Joaquin Delta and South No. 2 Orange Coast, the defending champ, get opening day started at noon in the double-elimination format.
The championship game is Monday. As in May 25. A harbinger for Fresno City?
That 1992 team included future major leaguer Bill Simas, who went 12-1 with a 1.41 ERA. Scott said the team set a goal of going 52-0 but settled for 45-7.
922-334 Scott’s career record as Rams coach
This year’s Rams are 35-9, led by ace right-hander Connor Brogdon (11-0, 1.72 ERA).
“I believe this team believes it’s going to win every game we play,” Scott said. “I believe that their mind set going in is like that team in 1992.”
Among this year’s accomplishments:
▪ Scott picked up his 900th coaching victory, a 5-1 win over Central Valley Conference rival Sequoias.
▪ A runaway CVC championship, with the Rams going 21-3 in the conference.
▪ Coming back against Skyline in the opening round of the postseason, rallying from down 6-0 in an elimination game.
▪ Taking down Ohlone in three games in the Super Regionals and sweeping Feather River in a Sectional series.
After that latest series-clinching win, the Rams didn’t go for the on-field dog pile, customary when teams advance to the next round.
“Our goal was to be the Nos. 1 or 2 seed and we never took our eyes off that,” Scott said. “We have not accomplished our goal. That’s why we didn’t dog pile last Saturday because our kids want to win a state championship.”
Scott admits he wants a state title “very badly.” And his players know that.
“We want it very bad for him,” right-handed starter Jorge Alvarado said. “I mean the whole time he’s been here, he’s had some good teams. We’ve done everything we need to do, but we haven’t really won anything. Our goal wasn’t to dog pile. Our goal is to get to the final four and win a state championship.”
Said second baseman Scott Silva: “We want to win it for him because he treats us like his kids and cares about us.”
Asked what reaching that ultimate goal would mean, Scott, while sitting on a couch in the coaches’ office, was not lost for words.
“It would mean a lot more to me than the last one just because it’s been so long and maybe we didn’t appreciate that one,” said Scott, 922-334 in 27 seasons. “Really, really want to win it bad for the coaches and the players. We would like to win it at home … in front of our fans.”
State final four
FRESNO CITY RAMS
- Record/conference: 35-9, Central Valley Conference champions
- Coach: Ron Scott, 27th season
- State titles: 1961, 1962, 1963, 1972, 1992
- 2015 playoff run: d. No. 15 Skyline, No. 10 Ohlone, No. 3 Feather River
- Notes: 21-4 at home; first final four appearance since 2007; hitting .310, with team ERA of 2.87
- Record/conference: 36-6, Pacific Coast Conference champ
- Coach: Buck Taylor, 10th season
- State titles: 0
- 2015 playoff run: d. No. 18 Riverside, No. 17 Irvine Valley, No. 11 Saddleback
- Notes: Have allowed 10 runs in six postseason games; reached championship game in 2005 but lost twice to Santa Rosa on final day; leads state in ERA (1.84)
SAN JOAQUIN DELTA MUSTANGS
- Record/conference: 39-5, Big 8 champ
- Coach: Reed Peters, eighth season
- State titles: 1959, 2011
- 2015 playoff run: d. No. 17 Sequoias, No. 11 Cabrillo, No. 5 San Mateo
- Notes: Last season’s state runner-up makes third state tournament appearance in past five years; state second-ranked in team ERA (2.07)
ORANGE COAST PIRATES
- Record/conference: 27-17, third in Orange Empire
- Coach: John Altobelli, 23rd season
- State titles: 1956, 1960, 1980, 2009, 2014
- 2015 playoff run: d. No. 7 Long Beach City, No. 8 Glendale, No. 3 Santa Barbara
- Notes: Defending champ makes fifth appearance in state tournament in past 11 years; had to replace 16 players from last season; hitting just .286 but with balance, with eight starters at .288 or better
- Saturday: Noon, Delta vs. Orange Coast; 6 p.m., Fresno City vs. Palomar
- Sunday: 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m.
- Monday: 11 a.m.; with second title game to follow if necessary