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Saddleback stops COC

Cougars’ season ends with a loss in California Community College Southern Regionals

Posted: May 9, 2009 9:58 p.m.
Updated: May 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Dan Watson/The Signal Saddleback College's Sean Parvin, top, drops the ball as College of the Canyons' Trevor Bloom slides safely into second base Saturday at College of the Canyons. The Cougars' season ended in a 6-4 loss.

 
College of the Canyons got close to advancing in the California Community College Southern Regionals, but for the second consecutive year the Cougars were sent home early in the third game of the opening round.

This season it was Saddleback which finished off the Cougars 6-4, bouncing back from a morning defeat to take the rubber game of a three-game set to advance.

The Cougars’ bats exploded in the opening game for 12 runs on 19 hits to earn a 12-6 victory.

COC scored in seven of the first eight innings, and Brian Charnock, Julian Cruz, Hugo Hernandez and Matt Warr all homered.

“In both of the first two games of this series Canyon really hit the ball well,” said Saddleback head coach Jack Hodges. “They stung us for 14 hits in the first game, and they did even better in the second game so we knew we had to find an answer because we had our hands full.”

The Gauchos (29-18) found the answer to their pitching woes in Scott Myers.

Myers improved his record to 3-0, pitching five innings and allowing only one earned run in the Gauchos’ 6-4 clinching victory.

“Myers was really big for us,” Hodges said. “He helped us get into a spot where we really knew that we could take this series.”

Saddleback chipped away at the Cougars (27-18-1), scoring one run in the first, second and fourth innings and posting two in the second.

“We just couldn’t come up with the big hit in the second game,” said COC head coach Chris Cota. “We had our chances, but we just couldn’t put it together.”

After falling behind 5-1, COC rallied in the fifth. Trevor Bloom reached on an error, which was followed by a David Kaczor single.

Hugo Hernandez then walked to load the bases, and a pair of Cougars crossed the plate on another Gaucho error.

However, the COC bats went silent and Myers got out of the jam.

“Obviously, I’m not happy to lose,” Cota said. “Still, when you consider where we started and how much we improved I have a lot of reasons to be proud of this team.”

The Cougars had one last legitimate chance to catch Saddleback.

Down 6-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Cruz doubled off reliever Rich Kemp to start the inning.

He came around to score two batters later on a sacrifice fly from Kaczor, and Hernandez singled to bring the potential tying run to the plate.

“From everything we had seen and heard about College of the Canyons we knew we were going to have our hands full, and we did,” Hodges said. “We were just fortunate to get a big performance from Kemp too.”

Kemp nailed down the save by striking out Matt Warr, advancing the Gauchos to the second round and ending the Cougars season.

“We had a great sophomore class,” Cota said. “It’s disappointing to have the season end this soon, but we were right there today, and above all, we played hard.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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