Pima Community College sports

Pima baseball continues to win, coach Ken Jacome surpasses 200 career victories

Pima head coach Ken Jacome earned his 200th win last Tuesday (Gilbert Alcaraz/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

The No.18 Pima College baseball team continues to win its games in impressive fashion, beating Gateway 4-3 in the first game of a doubleheader and 16-8 in the second game on Saturday at the Pima West Campus baseball field.

The sweep gave sixth-year coach Ken Jacome his 202nd career victory. He reached the milestone of 200 wins last week after Pima sweeped Glendale on the road.

“For our program it’s great,” Jacome said of eclipsing 200 wins. “For me as an individual, it’s not that big of a deal. We’re just trying to win championships. I owe a lot of credit to all the players that decided to come here and play and the coaches that have helped. the recognition is nice, but its a whole team thing.”

Jacome, who is 202-84 as coach of the Aztecs, began his coaching career at Pueblo High School from 1995-1996 shortly after playing with Pima. He then left to be a volunteer assistant under Jerry Stitt with the Arizona Wildcats from 1997-1998.

Jacome has been around the southwest before returning to coach at Pima in 2019, starting with when he started the El Paso Community College program in 1999 and coached there through 2004.

Jacome then joined Pima Athletics and Pima County Sports Hall of Famer Rich Alday‘s team at the University of New Mexico in 2004 as a pitching coach. He became the Lobos’ infield coach/recruitment coordinator in 2009.

Jacome would stay with New Mexico for 14 years before being hired as Pima’s head coach in 2019, one year after the late Alday retired following his second stint at the school.

Coaching in the Tucson community has meant a great deal to Jacome.

“It means a lot to me, the opportunity to come back to Tucson and take over the program as the head coach, the old place where I used to play,” Jacome said. “My brother (Jason Jacome) was an All-American here. It means a lot because it’s my hometown team.”

Jacome coached Pima to the NJCAA Region 1, Division 1 championship last year for the first time since 1998. Pima beat Arizona Western in a best-of-three series to reach the national tournament.

With last year’s regional title as an indication, Pima baseball will be an annual contender with Jacome in the dugout.

“I think we’re recruiting good players who have the opportunity to come here and develop for a couple years and then move on to the next level,” Jacome said. “I think people want to come here because we’re doing that. Obviously, recruiting becomes a bit easier when you win and when you win championships.”

Saturday’s sweep of Gateway marks the sixth consecutive victory for Pima (28-8, 14-6 in the ACCAC).

The Aztecs are tied with No.13 Arizona Western (27-7, 14-6) behind No. 6 Central Arizona (31-6, 18-2) in the conference standings.

Game 2 of the double header marked the 11th time Pima has scored more than 10 runs in a game.

They have a record of 10-1 when scoring that many.

In the fifth inning of the second game, Pima produced five runs against Gateway.

“I think our lineup is pretty strong from 1 to 9,” Jacome said. “That (fifth) inning started with two guys getting hit by pitches and not getting out of the way. You know, that’s what I told the guys in the huddle, ‘If you guys sacrifice your body and got hit by pitches,’ … and we ended up scoring five runs off of that. That was a huge inning for us.”

Pima and Gateway were tied at 2 in the first game heading to the third inning when David Shackleford hit an RBI single to drive fellow sophomore Nick Arias (Tucson) in to take a 3-2 lead.

Freshman Chase Cummings drove Shackleford in with an RBI single of his own before the end of the inning.

Sophomore J.T Drake pitched a complete game and threw three straight 1-2-3 innings to hold the Geckos without a run in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

The Aztecs were up 11-8 in the seventh inning of the second game before they scored five runs to take a 16-8 lead.

Pima kept Gateway without a run for the final two innings to close out the game and complete the sweep.

Pima will try to extend its winning streak with another conference doubleheader Tuesday on the road against Chandler-Gilbert. The first game starts at noon.

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