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Elk Grove Citizen

Hawks Baseball Moves Ahead to Playoffs vs. Butte

May 02, 2024 03:21PM ● By Alejandro Barron

Sophomore pitcher Anthony Disantis delivers a pitch during the Cosumnes River College Hawks' win against the Sierra College Wolverines. Disantis would pitch 2.1 innings and did not allow a run as he earned the save to secure the win for the Hawks. Photo by Alejandro Barron

ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - With a 6-3 win over the Sierra Wolverines, the Cosumnes River Hawks conclude their regular season with an overall record of 19-20 ahead of their CCCAA NorCal Regional matchup as the No. 21 seed against the No. 4 seed Butte Roadrunners. 
The road wasn’t easy, as the Hawks went on an 11-game losing streak in March but bounced back by winning their last three series and seven of their last nine games. 
“We had an 11-game losing streak midway through the year along with guys getting hurt, and they’re starting to get healthy again, but you have to get hot at the right time, which is at the end of the year, and I think these guys are starting to believe they can actually do something,” Hawks head coach Don Mico said. 
For the second consecutive year, the Hawks will travel to the Roadrunners in the first round of playoffs. The Hawks swept them by scores of 3-2 in both games last year. 
Through the adversity of the 11-game losing streak, Mico said a few players stood out by keeping their level of play up. These included Grafton Shorts, Griffin Harrison, Korey Williams and Chase Christenson. 
The Hawks had many players injured but are getting back to 100%, which helped them be successful down the stretch, Mico said. 
“Getting guys like Cameron Orr healthy and A.J. Santamaria, Ben Pernetti coming back with Pernetti starting to pitch again, so we’re getting all these guys back healthy, so we’ll see,” Mico said. 
The keys to a deep playoff run for the Hawks will be pitching, Mico said, and he pointed out sophomore pitcher Tyler Lamperti, and potentially Anthony Disantis if he’s healthy, along with bullpen arms needing to step up. 
As far as adjustments go, Mico would like to see better at-bats from his hitters ahead of the playoffs because they get themselves out so they can put teams on their heels, Mico said. 
One of the pitchers who Mico said can be key toward a deep playoff run, Anthony Disantis, said the Hawks will be OK through this playoff run so long as they execute.  
“There’s always things to improve on but I think if we keep hitting our spots when pitching, play good defense and do what we’re doing when hitting we’ll be OK in playoffs,” Disantis said. 
Although Mico has a young team, he has a lot of experience as a head coach in the CCCAA playoffs and knows exactly what to tell his team, he said.
“Take it one pitch at a time, win every inning, play defense, throw strikes, put the ball in play, run the bases aggressively and intelligently and have good team spirit, and I think they’re starting to understand that,” Mico said. 
He said the Arizona Diamondbacks' unexpected push to the World Series last year is good inspiration for his players to be able to win the Hawks their first State Championship since 2012. 
Although with a young team, several sophomores weighed in with how their playoff experience last year will help them against the Roadrunners again. 
“Knowing what you’re coming into with the physicality of the game, because it’s going to be more intense and more pressure, but it’s only pressure that you create,” sophomore infielder Grafton Shorts said. 
For Disantis, he said that his playoff experience from last year will help him a lot due to the pressure that comes with playoffs, so this will help him and the rest of the sophomores for the Hawks. 
Despite the tough stretch through March with the losing streak, Shorts said he’s looking forward to playoff baseball due to the high stakes involved. 
“It’s definitely fun to be able to play more baseball because that’s what we’re out here to do, and now it’s at an even higher stake so it’s going to be even more fun,” Shorts said. 
For Mico, he said it feels good to get into the playoffs with it being such a trying and weird year for him. 
“This has been a tough year for me with my health not being the best, so this has been a trying year especially because I’ve never lost 11 games in a row in my career,” Mico said. 
Mico noted this new era of baseball players, some of whom don’t like to be looked at eye-to-eye or don’t like the volume of his voice. 
He said he hopes they know he’s just trying to coach them and that they can buy into that heading into playoffs.
The Hawks are set to face the Roadrunners on May 3 and 4 beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. on Saturday and, if needed, a game three that same day at 2 p.m.