After going 6-4 in the first 10 ballgames of the 2021 summer California Collegiate League (CCL) season, the Orange County Riptide once again went 6-4 in their last 10 from June 24 to July 6. The team’s record now stands at 12-8 with the CCL All-Star Game coming up on July 14th.
Over this recent 10-game stretch of winning baseball, Kyle Booker (Tennessee) and Edarian Williams (UNLV) performed excellent at the plate. Hunter Ash (Cal Poly Pomona) meanwhile continued to dominate since the start of the season as a reliable bullpen arm that doesn’t give up runs.
Back on June 24th at Great Park, Orange County took advantage of a two-game homestand starting with a 6-4 win over the MLB Academy Barons and made it two-straight after a 5-4 June 25th win over the Ventura Pirates. The opposing teams’ put up fights but Emilio Rosas (USC), Derek Shaver (Wichita State), and Eric Bigani (UNLV) carried the Riptide offense a bit further by going 5-9 combined with four RBIs.
In the next two games, both losses, the opponents limited Orange County to an average of only two runs per game with only Spencer Serven (UTRGV) having a multi-hit game. The Santa Barbara Foresters and Arroyo Seco Saints pitching staffs scattered base hits and kept Riptide hitters off-balance to hand OC losses of 7-1 and 4-3, respectively.
The Riptide took advantage of a three-game homestand with two against the San Luis Obispo Blues and a third against the Pirates by winning all three with 25 runs scored and only six scored against. In the first game, a 4-0 shutout of the Blues, Brady LeJeune-DeAcutis (Texas Tech) delivered a 4.1 IP starting outing with three punchouts and only one allowed hit. Reed Spenrath (TCU), Eric Bigani (UNLV), and Kyle Booker (Tennessee) each had two hits and combined to score three of the team’s four runs.
Game two saw the Riptide go down 2-0 early on in the evening and score five unanswered off of Tyler Griggs (Central Arizona) and Davis Diaz (Vanderbilt) RBI singles, and RBI doubles from Kolton Freeman (Dartmouth) and Spenrath (TCU) to win 5-2. Noah Owen (Washington St.) tossed the first five innings before Shawn Hepler (Xavier), Derek Shaver (Wichita St.), and Tony Robie (Texas St.) threw the last four scoreless in relief.
In the 16-4 July 1st blowout of Ventura, the Riptide’s UNLV trio of Edarian Williams, Jack-Thomas Wold, and Austin Kryszczuk went a combined 4-11 at the plate with five RBIs and three runs scored as Charlie Taylor (Tennessee) went 2-4 with two walks, an RBI, and threw out a runner stealing in his Orange County debut.
Over a July 2nd and 3rd road games in Compton and Pasadena, where the Riptide won and lost one each, the opposing offenses challenged the Orange County pitching staff and scored at least six runs against them in both games. Head coach Mitch LeVier’s offense overcame that against Arroyo Seco on the 2nd, but couldn’t against the Barons on the 3rd.
Offensively in the two games, Charlie Taylor (Tennessee) had another two-hit game in his second start while Bigani, Edarian Williams, Kryszczuk, and Wold logged seven hits together in the win over the Saints and drove in four runs. The UNLV products have been able to provide great consistency throughout the batting order all season long and have not slowed down whatsoever. Kyle Booker (Tennessee) also went 2-6 with two RBIs in the win as the young outfielder is batting .350 with an .835 OPS in only 20 at-bats this season.
In the team’s home return to OC Great Park after two off days on July 6th, and in another matchup against Arroyo Seco, a five-hour 13-inning marathon ended 13-12 in favor of the Saints. It got Orange County its sixth win in their last ten as they look ahead to playing four of their next five on the road.
The Conejo Oaks come to Irvine on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. matchup at OC Great Park. It will be the last home game for the Riptide until after the All-Star Game on the 15th against the Barons.