Back on his game

Andrew Bynum worked his way back from an injured shoulder to join the Pirates in the regionals Saturday.

After facing a shoulder injury that affected his pitching for a NCAA Division 1 school, Andrew Steven Bynum, a 20-year-old nutrition major, didn’t think he’d be within reach of  a state championship at Orange Coast College.

But that is where the pitcher finds himself these days.

After graduating from Ocean View High in 2009, Bynum went off to pitch for UCI for two years but came up with an injury  to a bicep tendon.

“It has been mentally straining — going from a D1, to a junior college, and back to a D1 again in the fall,” Bynum said. “But being around the teammates here has made it the funnest and closest team I’ve played with.”

Bynum will be attending Valporaiso University in the fall after receiving a scholarship to the four-year college.

He said he became involved in baseball when he was able to pick up a bat at  3. Much of the passion he has for the sport he accredits to his father who also played and shared the love of the game.

Part of Bynum’s childhood was spent playing in city leagues where he met his now close friend, Sean Carpentier.

“It’s been really cool to see all his (Bynum’s) hard work pay off,” said Carpentier, 21. “Now I go to his games and offer the moral support.”

He and teammate Austin Wobrock, a 20-year-old kinesiology major, approached the OCC baseball field Sunday to a voluntary practice while teasing each other over who’s been late to practice most often.

They both said they dedicated this season to Jessica Joy Rees and her loss against brain cancer. Jessica was the granddaughter of OCC’s Leon Skeie.

“N.E.G.U. was her motto and it’s been our motto this season — since her grandfather works in the sports complex,” said Wobrock. “It stands for never ever give up.”

The team even shaved their heads earlier in the season in dedication to her battle against cancer.

Bynum received a baseball scholarship to attend and play at Valporaiso University in Indiana.  He said he is excited to experience another state and live in an apartment with some new friends.

OCC’s Sports Information Director Tony Altobelli said members of the college’s baseball team are in demand by four-year schools.

“Anyone on the team is pretty much a big deal since they’re No. 1 in state now,” he said.

Bynum and the OCC baseball team will head into the Southern California Regionals Saturday at home at 1 p.m., and will likely be viewed by pro scouts, they said.

“There’s more talent when we play against each other than there is against our competitors,” Bynum said. “It can be difficult because it’s all a matter of luck and who’s going to outshine each other during a game, but it’ll be good pressure to have.”

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