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Pierce Defense Goes Dark in Loss that Ends Coach’s Terrible Day

Times Staff Writer

If the sun had shined until midnight and his team had won by 11 runs, Tim Collins still might have wanted to cancel his entire day because of darkness.

Collins watched his Pierce College baseball team lose, 15-4, at home to El Camino in a Metropolitan Conference game called because of darkness after eight innings. Pierce had 10 players out of uniform because of what Collins said were “disciplinary reasons.”

It was the perfect climax to Terrible Tuesday, which had started on an even less positive note.

“Somebody called my house this morning and threatened to pour gas on me and light me,” Collins said.

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He said he believes the call was in retaliation for disciplinary measures he took at Pierce’s Monday practice. Collins made his team run.

“It’s a sign of the times,” he said. “The kid today is a different breed. They have so many other things besides baseball that are so important that they think they can just come out here and go through the motions. That’s not good enough for me. And when you discipline them, they can’t handle it.”

Collins said he hasn’t decided whether to report the threat to police but added, “I’m going to get to the bottom of it and whoever was involved will suffer the consequences.”

Collins’ already gloomy day got darker when the first El Camino batter, Joel Turk, hit the game’s first pitch onto Winnetka Avenue. The second batter, Matt Maestes, waited for three pitches before hitting the ball near Turk’s--just missing an RTD bus.

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“We’ve been swinging the bat really well,” El Camino Coach Tom Hicks said.

Only rain threatened the Warriors, who, under a dark gray sky, pelted three Pierce pitchers with 12 hits in their eighth straight win. Ten Pierce errors helped.

El Camino pitcher Mike Beiras, a lanky freshman right-hander, gave up only two hits in 6 innings, recording his fifth win against two losses. He had six strikeouts.

The Warriors (5-2, 17-7 overall) are ranked No. 8 in Southern California.

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“I just give my kids a lot of credit,” Hicks said. “We’ve been working on playing hard and today they went out and just played real hard.”

Although Collins said Pierce has the talent to play like champions, he is worried the Brahmas will suffer because they lack regimen.

“On this team, you make a mistake--you run,” he said. “Some guys won’t like it. They’ll fight you because of it. And because of that, they’ll get a lot tougher. Some will quit. We just want to make it a lot easier for the quitters.

“I’m trying to find ways to see who is motivated. Sometimes you don’t appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore. You have to do what you have to do to see who really wants to play.”

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What Pierce (3-2-1 in conference) has to do to win is evident. The Brahmas have two competent pitchers in Fred Riscen and Leo Clouser, a pair of 19-year-olds from Granada Hills High who were drafted by the Montreal Expos in January. Tuesday, however, the Brahmas’ hitting and fielding defied their 7-4-1 record going into the game. Pierce had only four hits and more than twice as many errors.

Clouser, who was coming off an illness, pitched six innings in relief after starter David Borell gave up two homers and a double, six runs, and hit a batter in a third of an inning. Clouser was replaced in the seventh by Matt Mason.

Pierce beat El Camino, 3-1, earlier this season. If he hadn’t benched 10 players Tuesday, would Collins have expected a different outcome?

“No,” he said. “We got beat by a good team. Our pitching, with the exception of Riscen, hasn’t answered the bell. And, we have too many players who still aren’t sure of whether they want to play or not.”

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