Laney wins conference title

May 5, 2016 2:51 PM

Eagles to open NorCal Regional against Chabot on May 6-7

Rags-to-riches stories never get old—here is another one.

The Laney College baseball team is headed to the Northern California Regional for the first time in three years.

The Eagles won the Bay Valley Conference for the first time since 2012 when they defeated Los Medanos College 4-2 in Pittsburg on April 28.

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Laney College catcher Marciano Reichel, after receiving a throw from left fielder T.J. Morris, tags out College of Marin runner Marcus Chiu during the sixth inning of a 4-2 loss to the Mariners on April 29.

Laney will play host to Chabot College of Hayward in the first round on Friday-Saturday, March 6-7.

The Friday game will start at 2 p.m. and the first game Saturday will be at 11 a.m. with the possibility of a second game in the afternoon of the best-of-three series.

Ticket prices will be $8 for students (with ID), children (under 12) staff and seniors (62+). General admission will be $12.

Laney finished the regular season with a 26-10 record overall and was 20-4 in the BVC and won nine out of their last 10 games.

This included a six-game stretch where the Eagles won all of them on the road.

This all happened after a 2015 season that saw Laney endure a 17-game losing streak.

“This showed the character of team,” head coach Francisco Zapata said. “Even when the guys went through the tough times (last year), they never gave up and stuck together.

“I said at last year’s (spring) sports banquet that we would be a lot better this season. They believed in themselves.”

It also helped that the Eagles were relatively healthy, compared to last season.

In 2015, the Eagles lost three starting pitchers due to injuries the first two weeks of the season and it was a scramble from then on.

This season, Laney had three solid starters in Christian Marquez (6-1, 2.00 ERA), Niko Loza (4-4, 3.82) and Niko Guerrero (4-1, 2.07), who pitched all of the games during the stretch drive and will likely to be the starters facing Chabot March 6-7. The Eagles finished with a team ERA of 2.54.

It wasn’t all pitching for the Eagles this season.

The team hit .295 with catcher Marciano Reichel leading the way with a .346 batting average.

Kaleo Johnson hit four home runs and had 34 RBI to lead the Eagles in both categories.

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