Austin Ales, a former Oak Ridge High baseball player donning the uniform for Cosumnes River College, played a critical role Sunday afternoon in helping the Hawks win the California Community College Athletic Association championship at Bakersfield College.
In the 8-6 victory over Rio Hondo College of Whittier in extra innings, Ales pitched a scoreless 12th inning to pick up his fifth save of the season. In the opener in the best-of-three series last Friday, Ales went the distance on the hill in leading Cosumnes to a 3-1 win that also ended the Roadrunners’ 33-game winning streak, longest in the nation. For his efforts, Ales was named the tournament MVP.
For the season, Ales posted an 11-2 record with an ERA of 1.09 that led the Big 8 Conference for Cosumnes River College, and allowed only 13 earned runs. He threw 107.2 innings, struck out 90 and walked 19. He tossed three complete games.
Two former Oak Ridge diamond players join Ales in earning a state championship ring. Infielder Jake Schu, a University of Nevada, Reno transfer, batted .300 this season and was second on the team in hits with 54. Outfielder/pitcher Colby Wilmer registered 10 at-bats this season.
For the season, Cosumnes River College posted a 28-16 overall record, including a 15-9 mark in the Big 8 Conference.
The Hawks defeated Sierra College during the tournament, a team with Casey Friederich (Ponderosa) and Kyle Buchanan (El Dorado) on its roster.
It’s the first state title for the Cosumnes River College baseball program. The Elk Grove college also became the first California community college team to win a state crown without playing a home game, as the campus under goes a facilities upgrade.
This is the second consecutive year a former Oak Ridge alum contributed in the state title game. Last spring, Jeff McKenzie pitched a complete game for the Delta College Mustangs baseball team that beat Ohlone College, 4-1, also in Bakersfield. McKenzie, like Ales the tournament MVP, went on to pitch this past season for California State University, Bakersfield.