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COC's back on top

Cougars win Western State Conference title.

Posted: April 20, 2008 1:46 a.m.
Updated: June 21, 2008 5:02 a.m.

College of the Canyons left fielder Tyreace House bats in the second inning of the game against Los Angeles Mission College on Saturday. House was 3-for-4 and had two RBIs.

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The College of the Canyons baseball team clinched the Western State Conference title with its win over Los Angeles Mission College on Saturday.

The Cougars defeated the Eagles 21-3 on their home field.

COC has won 23 of its last 24 games. This marks the first time since 2004 that the Cougars have clinched a conference title.

"We have really been staying focused," said Cougars head coach Chris Cota. " The team has been doing everything well including hitting, pitching, and defense."

COC's Caleb Deville pitched five innings, struck out one and allowed the Eagles only three hits.

Deville improves his record to 8-1 on the season.

"I felt really good out there today," Deville said. "I was locating the ball well and didn't give up too much to the other team."

It was apparent after the Cougars first two big innings that the Eagles would be playing a game of catch-up the rest of the way.

In the bottom of the first, right fielder John Hay hit a home run to center field, putting the Cougars at a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, COC's Dean Benavidez and Brian Hernandez added homers for the Cougars, leaving L.A. Mission behind 11-0.

Hernandez was 3-for-4 and had four RBIs while Benavidez was 2-for-3 and had one RBI.

In the bottom of the third, the Eagles brought in relief pitcher Marco Solis, but he could not shut down the Cougars.

With the bases loaded and Mission down 12-0, sophomore Luis Perez hit a grand slam, extending the Cougars lead to 16-0.

"In our last game, I went 0-for-4," Perez said. "I wanted to make sure I didn't repeat that today and I was lucky to have gotten the pitch I was looking for."

Perez was 2-for-5 and had five RBIs on the day.

Sophomore Tyreace House also had a big day for the Cougars going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two stolen bases.

"We knew we would come in here and get the win," House said. "My speed was awesome and we worked really hard as a team."

COC kept the scoring going, adding two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and another run in the eighth to close out the game.

The Eagles saw a glimmer of hope with a solo home run from Saugus High graduate Brandon Young early in the sixth.

Cougars relief pitcher Anthony DiGiacomo threw 16 pitches and retired the last three Eagle hitters in order in the ninth.

COC improves its record to 27-8 overall and 21-2 in conference. The team will face L.A., Mission again on Tuesday in Sylmar.

"We have to continue to play to our potential," Cota said. "And we have to stay hungry if we want to win the championship."

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