If you see a celebratory team picture of the 2014 California Community College Athletic Assn. state baseball champions, those are not double peace signs the Orange Coast College players and coaches are flashing.
After winning the program's fifth state crown, its second in six seasons, on Monday at Fresno City College, the Pirates wasted little time honoring the memory of Jourdan Watanabe, a former All-Orange Empire Conference catcher who died during OCC's 2009 state championship season.
Watanabe's father, Kent Watanabe, who was a first-year assistant coach this season, brought the No. 22 jersey hanging in the dugout out for one team picture and players and coaches mugged with both hands flashing two fingers, to signify 22.
It was also season No. 22 at the OCC helm for Coach John Altobelli, whose daughter wore an Orange No. 22 OCC jersey in the stands.
Altobelli keeps Jourdan Watanabe's legacy alive and sometimes gets choked with emotion when talking about his former player, whom he first saw as a young boy in the Irvine neighborhood they then shared. Altobelli told Kent way back then that one day he would bring Jourdan to OCC to play for him.
After the Pirates defeated San Joaquin Delta, 5-3, to clinch the state crown and cap their season-ending winning streak at 15, Altobelli spoke to his players, as well as their family members and supporters, in the outfield grass.
"Having Kent out here is awesome," said Altobelli, who has guided OCC to the four-team state tournament five times, including four in the last 10 years. "The power of the 22 is everywhere. I told you guys what a special year No. 22 was going to be for me [in their first team meeting of the season]. Did I not tell you that?
"I tell you right now, the [championship] ring is going to have a big 22 right on the front, with an OCC in the center of it. I have a few designs in my head, and I hope you guys don't mind the ring being about this big [cupping his hands together as if conforming to the shape of a grapefruit]."
•The No. 22 is also the sum of games won by sophomore identical twin pitchers David (11-1) and Jacob (11-0) Hill, who pitched through injuries — a sprained ankle and a sore forearm, respectively — to win the final two games in Fresno.
"Wow! Storybook," said David Hill when reminded of the combined win total of the two Orange Empire Conference Co-Pitchers of the Year.
Jacob Hill became only the third pitcher in OCC history to earn double-digit wins without a loss, joining Jerry Newman (14-0 in 1962) and Jim Newkirk (13-0 in 1957).
The Hill brothers' 11 wins mark only the fifth and sixth time in the last 58 seasons that an OCC pitcher has topped 10 wins, the last time being 2012, when Brandon Brennan went 11-1.
•Altobelli, typical of the feel-good atmosphere that has come to characterize his approach to coaching, made sure his players had ample time to savor the postgame vibe on Monday.
"Let's hang out," Altobelli told his players and their families and friends. "Let's take some pictures of the trophy and let's make some Christmas cards today. We're in no hurry to get out of here, so get yourself some hugs and shed some tears, and then we'll get on the bus and head home."
•The Pirates (36-9) had much to celebrate in 2014, including tying the 2012 state tournament team for No. 2 in single-season victories, behind the 37 wins posted by the 2009 state champs, who also defeated San Joaquin Delta in the final in Fresno.
OCC became the first team to win nine playoff games (the format was expanded to four rounds this season) and they also became the first team to go 9-0 in the postseason.