After finishing the 2022 season with a 23-20-1 overall record, and finishing third in the 2022 California Collegiate League (CCL) Playoffs, the Orange County Riptide will turn to new head coach Connor Spencer to lead this year’s team.
Spencer Era Begins
Spencer, an Orange County native, has a plethora of experience both as a player, and as a coach. With UC Irvine, Spencer batted .351 across three seasons, including winning the Big West Conference batting title in 2013 with a batting average of .373. He was drafted in the eighth round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees and played four years of professional baseball.
Spencer is also very familiar with the CCL. Last season, he served as the infielders & 3rd Base Coach for the Riptide. In 2021, he oversaw the Arroyo Seco Saints offense and brought the Saints to a semifinal appearance in the 2021 CCL State Championship. Outside of the CCL, he is currently the Director of Player Development for Cal State Fullerton who is set to play in the Stanford Regional this weekend.
As an offensive-minded coach, Spencer will look to bring the best out of this year’s roster, which has several players for fans to be excited about.
Players to Watch
A trio of outfielders may be at the center of the Riptide’s offense. Senior Grady Morgan from Fresno State enjoyed a productive 2022 season, batting .284 with eight homers and 41 runs.
Sophomore Reese Chapman from Tennessee had limited playing time this season, but is the former #1 overall-ranked baseball prospect in Colorado by Perfect Game. With the Riptide, Chapman will look to showcase his talents.
Junior Patrick Hacksworth is a strong candidate to bat at the top of the Riptide order. Hacksworth batted .327 with UC San Diego in 2022, and served as their leadoff hitter.
With Spencer at the helm, the Riptide will seek their second CCL Championship in 2023, beginning with a series of home games in the first week of June.