By Lauren Jennings |Sports Editor|
The Coyote baseball team made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
The last time the Coyotes won the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) title was in 2002.
Although they did not finish in first place this year, they made it to the playoffs and went in ready to fight for the crown.
The CCAA changed the playoff format this season, which allowed the Coyotes to be a part of the postseason.
Previously, the CCAA tournament took only the top four teams into the playoffs, but two more spots were added this year.
The first place seed was earned by the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos, while the Coyotes earned the fifth place seed. Chico State earned the sixth and final spot.
This season, the Coyotes’ regular season record accounted for 22 wins and 27 losses. They went 17-20 in conference play, earning them a third place finish.
The Coyotes may have finished under .500 this season, but this was their best record since 2012.
Last season, the Coyotes finished the season with a record of 10 wins and 39 losses. They finished with just eight wins and 32 losses against other CCAA teams.
The 2014 season was not much better as the Coyotes finished 13-37 overall and 11-29 against CCAA opponents.
For the past 24 seasons (1992-2015), the Coyotes had been under the coaching instruction of Don Parnell.
Parnell retired after the 2015 season, ending his Coyote career with a record of 559 wins, 631 losses and three ties.
Parnell lead the Coyotes to the CCAA tournament six times over his 24 years. The first time was in his tenth season in 2001 and again in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2012.
Parnell originally took over for Chuck Deagle, who was with the Coyotes for the first five seasons of the program (1987-1991).
However, Deagle put up a very impressive record in his short time with the Coyotes.
Deagle managed to tally up an overall record of 132 wins, two ties and just 57 losses. The Coyotes were playing in Division III athletics at this time, although they are currently in Division II and have been since Parnell took over.
The Coyotes played in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) World Series twice as a division III team, both in Deagle’s final two years, 1990 and 1991.
The 2016 season started off with multiple changes to the coaching staff, as David Martinez was introduced as Parnell’s replacement.
Assistant coaches Brett Hambright and Joe Villa were also added to the list of fresh faces.
The Coyotes started the year with back-to-back wins against Sonoma State, but would then go on a six game losing streak before picking up their next win.
The Coyotes would not play a game at home for their first 17 games, including an exhibition game against the KT Wiz, a baseball team from South Korea.
The first half of the season, the Coyotes went 11-14. They went 11-13 in the second half of the season.
One game was cancelled due to inclement weather, so the Coyotes only played 49 games during the regular season.
The Coyotes have had 37 players drafted by Major League Baseball (MLB) over the years. As a result, former Coyotes have gone to 17 MLB teams, including four of the five teams based in California.
The CCAA tournament is a great opportunity for players to be looked at by MLB scouts, so hopefully the Coyotes will get to add a few more players to their draft list after this season.