The Diablo Valley College baseball team has a slashing style at the plate and a smashing story on the mound.
Moreover, the Vikings, as the No. 7 seed, hope to crash the party at the California Community College Athletic Association Northern Super Regional at College of San Mateo.
Diablo Valley (24-15), led by Nick Pasquale, the state leader in wins with a 12-2 record, will open against No. 2 College of San Mateo at 11 a.m. Friday. No. 3 Ohlone (28-10) and No. 6 Cosumnes River (22-5) will meet at 3 p.m. Friday in the three-day, double-elimination event.
Pasquale, a former Antioch High star who signed with North Carolina State in November, has blossomed at DVC after he transferred from Saint Mary's College, where things didn't click.
"Nick's a tremendous story," DVC coach Steve Ward said. He cited Pasquale's emergence from being an unnoticed high school junior with an 80 mph fastball to a hot commodity today with a mature, determined approach.
Pasquale's 12 pitching wins equal half of DVC's win total. He has a 1.67 earned run average over 102.1 innings.
"His routine just never changes," Ward said of Pasquale. "All the success he's having it's well-deserved because he's worked for it."
The Vikings' approach to hitting has been "kind of unconventional," Ward said.
Ward and hitting coach Andy Tarpley, who played at Cal and has coached in the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox organizations, employ a "slash type of offense," Ward said.
"We're showing bunt, slash, and we're swinging off it most of the time, which confuses teams," Ward said. "It helps hitters because when you're showing bunt and pulling the bat back at the last second it helps you see the breaking ball a little bit longer."
The Vikings survived a tough three-game series with Big 8 Conference rival Santa Rosa to open the postseason, sweeping a doubleheader on Sunday. After a 4-3 loss on Saturday, Pasquale got his customary run support in a 7-5 complete-game victory in which he allowed 13 hits.
Then it was pitcher-by-committee in a 3-1 series-clinching win as Chris McConnell, Ben Brown and Blake Fassler combined to allow three hits. The Vikings scored twice in the top of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie after being no-hit into the eighth inning.
The Vikings' Mike Mann (Miramonte), an outfielder/first baseman, went 7 for 11 in the series and was hit by a pitch three times.
"Everybody has been in survival mode in the Big 8 the last month and a half of the season," Ward said. "It's like every game is kind of like your last game, so our kids are used to playing that type of stuff."
Ohlone swept a pair from Chabot (7-6, 7-3) to advance to the super regional, and CSM beat No. 15 Cabrillo in three games (10-1, 3-14, 3-1).
GLADS ON COURSE: The Chabot men's golf team moved a step closer to defending its state championship by winning the Northern Regional championship with a 730 score.
Chabot took the top three individual spots at the Diablo Grande Legends West Course in Patterson. Tyler Archer was medalist at 4-under 140 over 36 holes. Jordan Johnson (142) and Anthony Manguray (142) tied for second. Casey Adams (151) was tied for 11th, and Lucas Dunne (155) rounded out the Chabot top 5 in 19th. The state tournament is at Santa Maria Country Club on Monday.
PIONEERS IN THE POOL: The Cal State East Bay women's water polo team (19-10) had its best showing at the Women's Water Polo Association Championships, placing third. The Pioneers women's swimming team also had its best finish in the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference Championships, taking fifth.
Claire Pierce and Jayme Pekarske made the all-tournament water polo team for the second straight year. Carly Clark made the second team.
Contact Matt Schwab at firstname.lastname@example.org.