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JC Baseball: Chargers outlast Pirates

Cypress edges OCC in 13 innings in Orange Empire Conference opener that featured dominant pitching.

February 27, 2014|By Barry Faulkner

The Orange Coast College baseball team had already amassed a 12-2 record and earned the No. 1 ranking in Southern California. But Pirates Coach John Altobelli said his players may have struggled with the diminished margin for effort that accompanies Orange Empire Conference competition.

Host OCC, which came in batting .336 as a team, managed just five hits in 13 innings to come out on the short end of a 2-1 decision against No. 7-ranked Cypress, the defending state champion, in the conference opener for both teams Thursday.

Cypress pitching, of course, had plenty to do with that, as sophomore Steven Kane, the 2013 OEC Pitcher of the Year, allowed two hits and one unearned run in nine innings for the Chargers (10-4).

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Kane, 15-0 in his career at Cypress, was matched by OCC sophomore starter David Hill, who surrendered just six hits in 10 innings in his attempt to earn his fifth win without a loss this season.

Hill's big mistake was an elevated change-up to Cypress designated hitter Joe Duffin, who launched the offering over the fence in left-center field to lead off the second inning and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Hill, who had allowed just one earned run in 24 innings coming in, finished with eight strikeouts, before exiting having thrown an estimated 115 pitches, according to Altobelli.

Orange Coast got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning, benefiting from some good fortune, but giving some of the very same back to the Chargers to allow things to stay deadlocked.

Cody Maples walked to start the OCC eighth, then was replaced by pinch-runner Greg Espinosa. Jake Thumm tried to sacrifice and Kane fielded his bunt and elected to throw to second base to try to force Espinosa. But the throw was high, drawing shortstop Grant Mayeaux off the bag, allowing Espinosa to slide in safely.

Mayeaux then threw in the dirt to first to try to get Thumm and the ball got away to allow Espinosa to reach third.

Daniel Delaney followed with a line single to right to drive in Espinosa and put runners on the corners with no outs.

With Robert Longtree at the plate, Altobelli put on the safety squeeze, on which the runner from third is supposed to wait until the bunt is down before breaking for the plate. But when Longtree took a ball outside on the first pitch, Thumm strayed one step too far from third and was tagged out by third baseman Matt Tietz, who had fielded a pickoff throw from catcher Jonny Miller.

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