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Season slips away from COC baseball

Cougars blow late lead as they get eliminated in playoffs

Posted: May 11, 2013 11:25 p.m.
Updated: May 11, 2013 11:25 p.m.
 

Everything seemed to be set up perfectly for College of the Canyons baseball.

The top of the order delivered some big hits, the starting pitcher held strong and COC appeared to be on its way to a victory to keep its playoff run alive.

But it all came crashing down in the ninth inning on Saturday, when Cypress College strung together a three-run rally to win the game 5-4 on a walk-off walk in the second game of the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Super Regional.

The loss eliminated COC from the playoffs and ended its season at 24-16.

“I don’t remember the last time it happened,” said COC head coach Chris Cota of blowing the late lead. “And I’ll tell you after being in control for 8 1/2 innings, that’s a tough way to lose a ball game.”

The Cougars’ typically reliable relief pitcher Icezack Flemming came in for starter Steven Farnworth in the eighth inning and pitched his way out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam after allowing just one run to score.

That gave COC a 4-2 advantage headed into the ninth.

Flemming, who came into the day with a 2.61 ERA through 31 innings pitched and a team-high four saves, ran into trouble early in the inning after walking the leadoff batter and hitting the next one.

Cypress (26-14) took advantage of a total of four walks and two hit batsmen in the ninth. Cypress didn’t record a base hit in the inning.

The three runs scored on a groundout, a hit-by-pitch and a walk.

The game ended on Flemming’s walk issued to Robert Chava with the bases loaded.

“He’s been really good,” Cota said of Flemming. “And today happened and its hard to describe it.”

Due to the bracket’s double-elmination format, if the Cougars would have hung on to beat Cypress, they would have had to win three more games consecutively to advance to the CCCAA state finals.

In the end though, it will still go down as COC’s most successful season since an appearance in the Southern California Super Regionals in 2003.

“Our guys competed and it’s just a tough way to end the season,” Cota said. “You can handle getting beat by teams, but when you think you beat yourself, that’s a tough one.”

On the day, Western State Conference, South Division Player of the Year Alex Bishop went 5-for-5 at the plate and scored two runs for the Cougars.

Bishop’s former Valencia High teammate Trey Williams hit a two-run home run in the third inning on his way to a 2-for-5, three-RBI day.

Farnworth pitched well in the start for COC, going seven-plus innings and allowing two earned runs off eight hits and three walks. He struck out one in the game, but was pulled after giving up three straight singles to open the eighth inning.

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