Just two weeks ago the Orange Coast College Pirates baseball team would have finished its regular season. The team would have hoped to be preparing for another deep playoff run as it attempted to defend its title as the victors of the 2019 California Community College Baseball State Championship.
Last year was a remarkable season for the team which compiled a record of (39-9-1) and only dropped one game enroute to the championship when it lost to the eventual runner up El Camino.
Two days before the 2020 season was set to begin, longtime head coach John Altobelli tragically died. The community was left in disbelief, hit hard by his untimely passing.
While everyone continued to mourn, the Pirates baseball team did the same, however it also continued with its season, doing its best to honor Altobelli along the way.
It was not an easy road for the team, which had to wait until its fourth game to claim a victory. Through the Pirates’ first eight games things were not looking up for the team, which slid to a (2-6) record.
After the Feb. 11 loss to Long Beach City College, a switch must have been flipped inside of the team, as it went on a tear, winning seven straight games before the start of conference play.
The team came together as a unit and was playing its best baseball while freshman infielder Cary Arbolida was putting on a show. He was rewarded for his remarkable performances when he was named the California Community College Athletic Association Male Athlete of the Month for February.
During the month the Pirates compiled a (9-4) record, finding its form under now acting head coach Nate Johnson. Arbolida finished the month with a .422 batting average, seven extra-base hits including four home runs and driving in 13 runs.
The Pirates looked set to continue its hot streak heading into conference play, but dropped its opening series to Golden West. The team then returned to form against Irvine Valley, picking up the opening two matches of the series, but that was where the season ended.
With 20 games still left to be played the curtains were closed on the 2020 season. The Pirates finished the year (12-8), and were (3-2) in conference play at the conclusion of the now shortened campaign. A year that the team hoped would see it wind up on top once again was instead wrapped up by a pandemic that has left society questioning what is reality.
Outside of reality however, there is a way to see how the remainder of the team’s season in conference play would have wound up. In the game Out of the Park Baseball there’s a way to create any league imaginable, and play out a season or two. The simulation game offers in-depth statistics and markets itself as a way “to combine realistic replay baseball simulation with career play to satisfy hardcore fans,” said developer Markus Heinsohn.
Taking the time to recreate the Orange Empire Conference in its entirety inside of OOTPB it’s now possible to put a theoretical conclusion on the 2020 season.
Out of the park Baseball's rendition of the OEC sees players share a base rating for statistics such as fielding, speed, and other physical traits, which are harder to evaluate without the opportunity to study film.
Where the simulation makes up for these generic stats is in its ability to calculate a player’s rating based on their hitting or pitching stats in real life. So teams with elite pitching should see ratings that reflect this while teams that struggled may be ranked lower, and the same goes for hitting.
In this simulation almost every rostered player in the OEC is replicated in the game with the only exceptions being players who either didn’t play, or some who failed to log either 10 at-bats or one inning pitched, giving them too small of a sample size to really rate.
Every game between the OEC teams will be simmed including the Golden West series and the Irvine Valley College games that were already played, in order to see how OOTP stacks up to reality’s results, while also answering the question of who would have come out on top of the OEC.
Across the next week, series by series, it will become apparent what team's video game reincarnate was the best during this lost season. Check back to the Coast Report every day for updated game information.
Here's the schedule of the Pirates' upcoming games: Tuesday — Fullerton series, Wednesday — Cypress series, Thursday — Saddleback series, Friday — Santa Ana series, Saturday — Riverside series, Monday — the winner.