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Pirates nearing Hill-top

Community College Baseball

David Hill takes twin brother's scheduled start and helps OCC win, move close to OEC title.

April 22, 2014|By Barry Faulkner

A Hill on the hill has been good news for the Orange Coast College baseball team all season. So whether it was Jacob Hill or his identical twin brother David, the Pirates figured to be in good hands against Orange Empire Conference visitor and district rival Golden West on Tuesday.

Jacob (9-0 in nine appearances, including eight starts, with a 1.31 earned-run average) is the usual Tuesday starter for Coach John Altobelli. But, having thrown 55 innings, more than the sophomore left-hander has ever compiled, Altobelli said, the OCC brain trust elected to shift David Hill, the typical Thursday starter, up a couple days.

The result was a two-hitter through eight strong innings for David Hill, who improved to 9-1 with the hosts' 8-1 triumph that put them in position to win at least a share of the conference title.

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OCC (26-9, 13-7 in conference), ranked No. 2 in Southern California, remained tied atop the OEC with Santa Ana, which defeated Cypress, 17-5, on Tuesday. An OCC win at Golden West and a Santa Ana loss at Cypress on Thursday would give OCC the outright crown. Should both OCC and Santa Ana win on Thursday, they would share the title. But OCC would be the higher playoff seed, due to having won two of three games against the Dons.

An OCC loss and a Santa Ana win would give the Dons the outright championship.

Cypress (11-9 in conference), fell out of title contention on Tuesday, while the winner of the Saddleback game at Riverside that began Tuesday at 6 p.m., would remain in contention at 12-8. Saddleback and Riverside meet again in Mission Viejo on Thursday.

Should OCC wind up tied with Riverside or Saddleback, it owns the head-to-head tiebreaker against Saddleback, but not against Riverside.

Regardless, the Pirates are a cinch to host a best-of-three first-round playoff series in the revised playoff format that now includes three rounds of best-of-three series to produce the four teams that make the double-elimination state tournament, May 24-26, at Fresno City College.

David Hill, a sophomore right-hander who pitched last season at Long Beach State, struck out seven and faced the minimum in seven of his eight innings. A hit batter, a double and a sacrifice fly allowed the Rustlers (15-20, 6-14 in conference) to muster their lone run in the fourth inning, which broke a 0-0 tie.

David Hill's ERA actually increased from 0.8925 to 0.8933 as his win gave the Hill twins nearly 70% of the Pirates' victories this season.

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