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Pirates clinch crown

Community College Baseball

OCC wraps up first outright Orange Empire Conference title since 1987,by topping host Lasers.

April 24, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

IRVINE — At 30-4-1, the Orange Coast College baseball team surely knows how to win. When it comes to celebrating, however, the No. 1 team in the state showed its inexperience on Tuesday after clinching the program's first outright Orange Empire Conference title since 1987.

Following the last out of OCC's 7-2 road triumph over Irvine Valley, there was a brief hesitation before the players in the dugout jogged onto the field and helped form a crowd around relief pitcher Bijan Rademacher in front of the mound.

The players began jumping up and down and it appeared one player threw sunflower seeds over the gathering. The traditional dog pile failed to transpire.

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But, anxious to make up for their rookie mistake, the Pirates reenacted a dog pile after their post-game team meeting down the left-field line.

They later executed perfectly the ice-water bath for both Coach John Altobelli and pitching coach Dave Bowman. The players caught both coaches off guard, drenching them and taking their break away with the cold water.

They are hoping for more practice in the postseason, which begins May 5 with the Southern California Regionals.

"I think they were trying to figure out how to learn how to do it," Altobelli said of the dog pile, under which sophomore shortstop Joel Licon, who emerged smiling, appeared to take the brunt of the weight.

Licon was one of eight starters to contribute to the 13-hit attack. And he drove in the last of a three-run second inning that gave the hosts all they would need when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Rademacher, a freshman who started in right field, was three for five with one RBI, while sophomore first baseman Eilert Meyers was two for five with two RBIs and one run.

Freshman second baseman Justin Broussard was two for five with one RBI and one run, while freshman center fielder Boog Powell was two for five with two runs for the winners, who shared the conference crown in 2009 (the year they also won the state title) and 2005 under Altobelli, in his 20th season.

"We wanted to get that W and clinch the No. 1 spot alone for Altobelli and Bowman," said Rademacher, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the win for sophomore Keegan Yuhl.

Yuhl, who is 10-1 and ranks second in the state in victories, entered in relief in the fourth inning. He allowed just one hit and walked one while blanking the Lasers (14-20, 7-13 in conference) in his five innings. He struck out four and did not allow a runner to reach second base.

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