Baseball: Numbers continue to grow with signings

Micah Hee signs with Cal State Los Angeles
Micah Hee signs with Cal State Los Angeles

Joining an ever-increasing number of Cerritos College baseball players who have signed to move on to the four-year level, the duo of utility player Micah Hee and outfielder Nick Penzetta will both be playing at Cal State Los Angeles next season. The pair, who both played high school baseball in Hawaii, were impactful on the Falcons winning the South Coast Conference South Division and earning the #1-seed for the Southern California Regional Playoffs. Hee has signed a National Letter of Intent, while Penzetta will be a walk-on for the Eagles next season.

"I chose Cal State LA because I've heard that Coach (Vince) Beringhele is a great coach and I felt extremely comfortable around the campus during my visit," said Hee. "The campus is beautiful and they have everything a student-athlete would ever need. I also chose to continue my career there because they have a Fire Protection Administration and Technology program, which not a lot of schools have. I was considering was Biola University, but decided on Cal State LA."

Hee, who saw time as an outfielder, relief pitcher, starting pitcher and back-up catcher, settled into the starting rotation in the latter part of the season. In his first collegiate start, Hee went six innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with five strikeouts in a win over Cuesta College. He followed that up with a 10-strikeout performance against Compton College, where he lasted seven innings and allowed five hits. On the season, Hee went 4-2 with a 2.68 ERA over 47 innings with 50 strikeouts. In his lone post-season start, Hee went 5 2/3 innings in the series-clinching win over Los Angeles Pierce College and allowed three runs on six hits and posted six strikeouts in earning the win.

Nick Penzetta will look to earn a starting role at Cal State LA "The plan for me is to come out of the pen at Cal State LA but opportunities are endless if you're motivated to do something you really want to do", added Hee. "I really enjoyed being a starting pitcher here at Cerritos but at the same time I want the thrill and excitement of coming in for the bottom of the 9th to shut the door."

As for Penzetta, he batted .266 on the season with eight doubles, three triples, three home runs and drove in 22 runs. An injury kept him out of eight games, but returned to the starting lineup by going 4-for-6 with six RBI against Compton College and had hits in 11 of the team's final 16 games on the year. He drove in the game-winning run in a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over Los Angeles Pierce College in the first post-season game of the year.

Both Hee and Penzetta will be joining a Cal State LA team that went 28-24 on the year and saw their season come to an end in the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championship Tournament in epic fashion. They led Cal Poly Pomona, 11-1, but surrendered 12 consecutive runs in the final three innings for a 13-11 setback. All six of the team's outfielders have graduated, which will give Penzetta an opportunity to earn extra playing time, while Hee will fill one of the eight pitching positions that have been vacated by graduation.

Added Hee, "my sophomore year meant a lot, not only to me, but the rest of the sophomores because our freshman campaign was terrible. From having one of the worst seasons this program has ever had to being seeded #1 in playoffs meant everything to us. Each and everyone of us had the same goal in mind, although we came up short. This was one of the greatest clubs I've ever had the privilege of playing for. It was an honor and privilege to be able to play for Coach Gaylord. He pushed us only because he knew we were capable of much greater. I will never forget his final speech he gave us after that loss to El Camino."

Of the 12 sophomores on the 2017 Cerritos baseball team, 11 have made committments to four-year colleges, while the final carry-over will transfer after completing several final classes.