1981 Baseball Team
No one expected the Cougars to win the state championship. After being pushed into the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination state tournament, most thought they wouldn’t make it out. But the Mike Gillespie- led Cougars weren’t quick to go away as they defeated L.A. Harbor in consecutive games to upset the undefeated Seahawks and win the 1981 State Title.
#3 Outfielder Craig Holmes - A backup outfielder who stayed at COC despite the fact that he could have been a starter at another program.
#4 Outfielder Richard Walsh - A backup outfielder who had great athletic ability.
#5 Catcher Leland Franco - Franco was known to put on defensive clinics when behind the plate. He transferred to Azusa Pacific where his team was the 1984 College World Series Runner-Up. He is married to wife Shelley and has one son, Seth.
#7 Pitcher Steve Sisson - Sisson was the only left-handed pitcher on the team and was crucial when facing left-handed batters. He went to UC Santa Barbara after COC and is married with three children.
#8 Catcher Greg Bowlin - A backup catcher who coached for the Cougars, Mission College and the Erie Cardinals. He now works for Canyons as a groundskeeper. He is married to his wife Sylvia and they have two children, Ryan and Caitlin.
#9 Shortstop Flavio Alfaro - Alfaro was a highly decorated player who transferred to San Diego State on a scholarship. He was the starting second baseman for the 1984 Olympic baseball team.
#10 Catcher/Designated Hitter Eric Lush - Lush was a quick-witted player who was one of the enforcers on the team.
#11 Pitcher Gary Johnson - Johnson came up big against Taft College in the conference playoffs. He owns his own business in Glendale and is married to wife, Rhonda, and they have two children.
#12 Outfielder Todd Goodman - A right fielder with a strong arm. Goodman attended UC Santa Barbara on a baseball scholarship and earned his bachelor’s of arts in liberal studies with a minor in coaching.
#13 Infielder Bob Arispe - Arispe was a utility player who saw action at second base, third base and shortstop.
#14 Pitcher Mark Davis - A relief pitcher who played in the minor leagues.
#15 Second baseman Bob Brontsema - Brontsema was an All-State second baseman who led the state in steals. He transferred to UC Santa Barbara to play baseball. Brontsema is currently the head coach at USCSB and leads the Big West Conference in conference wins and overall wins among active coaches.
#16 Third baseman and pitcher Keith Ritchea - His only start of the year as a pitcher was a 3-2 win against L.A. Harbor in the state playoffs, which set up the third game against Harbor for the state championship.
#17 Pitcher Fred Schrott - Schrott was a closer for COC. He went to Sonoma State where he was the MVP in 1983. His son Justin, is a freshman baseball player at Simi Valley High School and daughter Ashley, plays soccer.
#18 Outfielder Mike Mazzocco - A centerfielder known for making hard catches. He went to San Diego State after COC. Following SDSU he went to trade school and earned his contractor’s license in landscaping and has continued working in that business for the past 24 years.
#19 First baseman Joe Canale - Canale was the only left handed hitter on the team with a very quick wit. He earned a scholarship to Chapman College and has worked in the lumber business for the past 23 years. Canale has been married for 17 years and has two children.
#20 Catcher Jim Green - A utility player who filled in when needed.
#21 Pitcher Steve French - French was the Cougars No. 1 pitcher. He pitched a complete game in the final match-up with L.A. Harbor to win the state title, 4-1. He transferred to UC Santa Barbara.
#22 Infielder and pitcher Matt Washell - A utility infielder who had a big bat. He had significant defensive plays against L.A. Harbor to force a final game for the state championship.
#23 Pitcher Todd Beal - A starting pitcher for COC. Beal is remembered for his great game against Fresno to take the Cougars out of the loser’s bracket.
#24 Outfielder Jason Felice - Felice was a first round pick, secondary phase, by the New York Mets in 1981. He also played in the Texas League and at the AAA level. Felice managed in the minor leagues for four seasons where he won two championships.
#28 Catcher Bill Fitzpatrick - Fitzpatrick was the toughest player on the team and a clutch hitter.
#29 Pitcher Mike Sofley - He threw a complete game, 5-4 win against Sacramento City in the opening game of the playoffs, his first game back after being injured. Sofley continued playing baseball at Azusa Pacific. He has two children, Elisabeth and Michael.
#31 First baseman and designated hitter Doug Rostykus - Rostykus was a player who the coaches wanted in the game when it was a close one. He has been a fire captain for the past 10 years and a real estate broker for 20 years. Rostykus is married and has one daughter.
Head Coach Mike Gillespie - Gillespie was a 2007 inductee into the College of the Canyons Athletic Hall of Fame for his 16 seasons as the Cougars head coach. He went on to coach at the University of Southern California before retiring in 2006. He returned to college coaching in 2007 as the head coach at the University of California, Irvine.
Assistant Coach Len Mohney - Mohney took over the COC baseball program in 1987, after Gillespie left for USC. He was the head coach for 14 years and is currently the dean of physical education and athletics at College of the Canyons.