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OCC won't stay down at Cypress

Community College Baseball

Pirates clutch up to erase three deficits, then score five in the ninth to wrap up sixth straight victory.

March 29, 2011|By Barry Faulkner, barry.faulkner@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

CYPRESS — Whether they are facing a third strike, a third out, their final out, or a deficit, Orange Coast College baseball players usually get the same two-word prescription for success from Coach John Altobelli.

"Tiger up," Altobelli shouts from the third-base coaching box, a message that is sometimes echoed by players in the dugout. It happens so consistently during a nine-inning game, one might consider it more monotony than motivation. But the Pirates seem to repeatedly take it to heart.

For the second time in four days against Cypress, the Pirates certainly earned their stripes. Tuesday, the visitors continually rallied by coming through in the clutch to claim a 13-8 Orange Empire Conference victory.

OCC, which trailed, 3-0, 5-3 and 8-7, on Tuesday, erased a five-run ninth-inning deficit and went on to defeat the Chargers, 7-6, in 11 innings at home on Saturday.

"We just know how to win," said sophomore shortstop Jordan Beck, who went three for five and drove in three runs, one with each of his singles, to up his team-leading RBI total to 33. "Whenever we're down, it doesn't faze us. We just find a way to win."

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The last two RBIs for Beck came with two outs, which was a familiar theme. Sophomore third baseman Colton Hamill drove in three runs, all with two outs, including a two-run double that gave OCC a 7-5 advantage in the fifth inning.

"A lot of two-out hits, a lot of two-strike hits and some big double plays when we needed them," Altobelli said. "Tiger up is something we've had for a few years. That's just guys shortening up, getting on the plate and looking to go the other way. It's a hard thing to get guys to buy into, but this team does a good job of buying in. And Beck is unbelievable."

Said Beck, who was among those who stayed back and drove outside pitches to the opposite field for hits: "We try to go oppo a lot. We work on that in batting practice. There are a lot of holes out there in right field."

The Pirates (22-4, 8-3 in conference), found holes in bunches against a depleted Chargers pitching staff Tuesday. OCC produced 12 runs in three innings, batting around in the fourth, fifth and ninth.

The four-run fifth produced the aforementioned 7-5 lead, but Cypress (13-10, 5-6), which scored in six of the first seven innings, tallied one run in the fifth, sixth and seventh to regain the lead.

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