Moanalua alum Strombach gets 2 hits in finale
FRESNO, Calif. » Jim Strombach stood outside Pete Beiden Field, uniform dirty, shirt tail hanging out, his four-year career with the Sacramento State Hornets done.
"It is bittersweet. There is no more (college baseball). It is kind of hard," Strombach said.
The Moanalua graduate did not start against Louisiana Tech yesterday but singled in both of his at-bats after entering the game. He started a four-run, eighth-inning rally that saw the Hornets cut LaTech's lead to three runs (12-9).
LaTech picked up two runs in the bottom of the inning and eliminated the Hornets 14-9.
"I guess it is better getting two hits than losing and striking out twice," Strombach said.
He raised his average to .302 and finished his senior year as the team's stolen base leader (13-for-15).
Strombach wants to stay in the game, most likely as a coach. He won't be holding his breath when the Major League Baseball First-Year-Player Draft is held June 6-7, but says there has been a little interest.
"I would love to get the chance to play pro ball," Strombach said.
The thing he remembers most about his four years is his first.
"I have never met so many great players. Some teams treat freshmen like freshmen, but they treated everyone the same," Strombach said. "The transition from high school wasn't hard at all. It was an awesome experience."
Three other Hawaii residents participated for the Hornets this year.
Chris Mols, a junior left-hander from Roosevelt, made 13 relief appearances. He had no decisions and an 8.31 earned-run average.
Infielder Taylor Watanabe, a sophomore from Aiea, played in 17 games, starting five, and hit .357 (10-for-28).
Brett Tanigawa, a sophomore catcher from Moanalua, hit .219 in 15 games backing up senior Buddy Morales.
Spartan connection: Chris Balatico (Mililani '03) of Ewa Beach allowed two hits but no runs in the eighth inning of San Jose State's 15-1 loss to Nevada on Thursday. The left-hander has pitched in six games this year on an emergency basis. He is 1-0 with a 7.11 ERA.
Balatico also appeared in 40 games as an outfielder. The junior, who transferred from Hartnell College, is hitting just .197 (14-for-71), yet is tied for the team lead with three triples.
SJSU was eliminated from the tournament with a 3-2 loss to Fresno State yesterday.
In the books: Three former Hawaii players still hold Western Athletic Conference postseason tournament records.
Mario Monico's three home runs and 10 RBIs vs. Utah in 1985 at Provo, Utah, are single-game records. The outfielder's five homers that year is tops since the WAC first held a tournament in 1963.
Terry Derby holds the record for most stolen bases in a tournament with six in 1982.
Scott Karl's two-hit complete game against New Mexico in 1992 tied him with Arizona's Sherwin Scott (1963) for fewest hits allowed in a complete game.