Lassen Baseball traveled to Reedley, California for the first round of the California Community College baseball playoffs to take on the Tigers of Reedley College. The game was nine innings of heart pumping, out of your seat baseball that resulted in a "walk off homerun" ending the hustlin' Cougars run for the spring of 2017.
Lassen had a commanding lead for most of the game and a late seventh inning explosion by Reedley put them back into the ball game with a 5-5 tie going into the late innings. In the top of the ninth the Cougars chipped off two runs with a big bases loaded single by freshman second baseman Ryan Thomasy who went an impressive 5-5 in the playoff game. The Tigers could not be silenced in the bottom of the ninth with two outs hitting a game ending homerun.
The Lassen Cougars were in the conference race all season and big wins each week kept them grinding towards a possible title of the Golden Valley Conference. The weather and two natural disasters put the cougars on the road for the first half of conference play producing a 7-3 record. After returning home for the second half of conference, a big "walk off homerun" by freshman third baseman Eric Carlson against Butte College jumped Lassen ahead of the Roadrunners for a tie of first place. The Butte Series lead to a late season, head to head matchup against Feather River College for sole possession of the conference lead. A hard fought doubleheader and an eleven inning loss resulted in the Cougars chasing the title down the stretch. The Lassen baseball team finished in second place with a 17-8 record in conference play and an overall record of 22-16.
The 2017 season produced a handful of successful student athletes and was led by strong weekly pitching performances by sophomore Left hand pitchers Gehrig Parks from Spanish Springs High school in Sparks, NV and Raymond Kerr from Hug High School in Reno NV. Gehrig Parks produced a 9-2 record with a 1.69 ERA. Raymond Kerr finished with a 7-4 record and team high 78 strikeouts. Both these players were voted Unanimous 1st team all-conference as well as freshman shortstop McClain O'Connor from Pioche, Nevada and local freshman outfielder Daniel Perry from Susanville, California.
The Cougars also had the Conference MVP third baseman Eric Carlson from Ashland, Oregon. Carlson had a whopping .398 batting average with nine doubles, two homeruns, and 19 RBIs in conference play. Lassen College also had three second team all-conference players that included freshman second baseman Ryan Thomasy from Redding California, sophomore first baseman Adam Frandsen from Kalispell, Montana, and sophomore utility player Nathan Hedberg from Tehachapi, California. The Cougars baseball team also carried on the 100 percent placement rate of players with 11 student athletes moving on with scholarships opportunities to the four-year level for the seventh year in a row.
Lassen college baseball team had a season to remember. It was hard fought and dictated daily by extremely bad weather and game changes weekly. Head Coach Frank Avilla, who was also voted 2017 Golden valley Conference Coach of the year stated, "In spite of all the adversity, Lassen College baseball showed strong character and toughness that I have never had as a coach before. This team's chemistry was outstanding and made coming to the ball park the most exciting it has ever been. This group of young men was special and fought all the way down to the very last pitch and play of our first playoff appearance in 9 years. I couldn't be more proud to call myself a Cougar because of the 2017 Hustlin' Cougars baseball team."