No. 8 Story of the Year - Baseball soars into Super Regionals

No. 8 Story of the Year - Baseball soars into Super Regionals

In leading up to the start of the 2015-16 athletics campaign at Irvine Valley, which starts on Aug. 24 with women's volleyball competing in the Azusa Pacific scrimmage tournament, the Laser athletic department will count down the top 10 IVC sports stories from the 2014-15 school year.

At No. 8 on the list is the special run that the Irvine Valley baseball team went on to finish the 2015 season. It won four of its final six games to end the regular season and make the Southern California Regional Playoffs. IVC, seeded 17th, won a single elimination playoff play-in game at LA Mission, 16-6. It was one of the biggest wins in the history of the program.

IVC trailed, 6-0, heading into the top of the seventh inning, but scored two runs in the seventh inning and an amazing 10 runs in the eighth inning to rally for the victory. IVC finished with 20 hits in the contest. Jordan Gillerman was 4 for 6 with a double and two RBI, Lucas Tancas went 3 for 6 with a home run and three RBI, Cory Mendoza went 3 for 6 with three RBI, Dillon Millar was 3 for 6 with a double and two RBI, Brett Hamilton went 2 for 6 with one RBI, Zach Vittetow was 2 for 3 and Clint Jack was 1 for 3 with three walks and one RBI.

Irvine Valley then turned around and swept a pair of games at No. 2 Oxnard to move to the Super Regionals. IVC defeated Oxnard, 8-0, behind pitcher Ryan Abady in the opener and then defeated the Condors, 1-0, behind the work of Justin Zielinski. Zielinski pitched his school-record eighth complete game of the season.

Irvine Valley's baseball team had one of its best-ever seasons. The Lasers got better and better as the year went on and finished the season with a record of 23-18 overall, including winning three playoff games.

Pitchers Justin Zielinski and Ryan Abady were named to 2015 all-Orange Empire Conference baseball teams.

Both were among the top pitchers in the state this season and have helped lead Irvine Valley into the CCCAA Super Regionals.

Zielinski, a sophomore right-hander was selected as a first-team pitcher.

He was also named All-Southern California.

Zielinski finished with a record of 9-3 overall. He set several program records this past year, including innings pitched with 118.1, ERA at 1.52, complete games with eight and shutouts with three.

And he tied for the most wins in a season with nine.

Zielinski had a record of 4-2 in conference with six complete games and one shutout. He pitched 68.0 innings during conference action and had a 1.59 ERA.

Abady, a freshman left-hander, had a record of 8-4 with a 2.02 ERA in 102.2 innings. Abady had four complete games and two shutouts.

In conference play, Abady had a record of 4-3 with two complete games and one shutout. He pitched 50.2 innings and had a 2.49 ERA in OEC action.

Several players earned honors at the team's year-end banquet.

Zielinski was given the prestigious "Iron I" Award.

The honor had been only handed out once before that came in 2008 to current IVC assistant coach Alex Agortsas.

There are nine I's that the award stands for. They are intelligent, intent, investment, identity, intensity, inspiring, intuitive, influence and intangibles.

Zielinski was also named co-pitcher of the year with freshman lefty Ryan Abady.

Irvine Valley's offensive player of the year award went to Tancas, a freshman first baseman that signed with Long Beach State.

Tancas paced Irvine Valley in batting average at .340, in hits with 53 and runs with 24.

He was third on the team in RBI with 16 and also tied a team-high in stolen bases with seven. Tancas had 15 multi-hit games this year.

Freshman catcher Branden Williams was given the defensive player of the year award.

He caught two of the top pitchers in the state in Zielinski and Abady and threw out 16 runners stealing this past season. He had a .980 fielding percentage.

Williams also hit a home run and drove in 13 runners on offense.

The teammate of the year award went to freshman catcher Adan Navarrete. IVC coach Kent Madole said there was no better ally and hard worker for the Lasers this year.

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