Orange County Community College Baseball : James Gangs Up on Cerritos in OCC’s 10-9 Win
Before Joey James’ ninth-inning single gave Orange Coast College a 10-9 South Coast Conference win over Cerritos Saturday, he already had enjoyed the kind of day opponents have come to expect when playing against him.
By the time he came to the plate in the ninth, he had two home runs, four RBIs, and another place in the OCC record book--the most home runs in a season.
Some athletes would find Saturday’s performance a cause for celebration, or at least an outward display of happiness. About the only thing James could muster during a postgame interview was a smile.
“I was just trying to make contact,” he said about the game-winning hit.
“When is this Joey James story going to end?” OCC Coach Mike Mayne asked.
When, indeed. James, who was hitting .470 going into Saturday’s game, has led the Pirates (16-0, 27-4) to a 21-game win streak and a five-game conference lead over Rancho Santiago with eight games left.
Saturday, his home runs helped OCC stay close when it seemed Cerritos would take control. But the game winner, which came after consecutive two-out Cerritos errors, was the highlight.
Rob Gibbs hit a high bouncer to third that Derek Dehdashtian fielded but threw wild to first. Catcher Paul Ellison then hit a ground ball to shortstop, but second baseman Bret Barberie dropped the throw on the force attempt.
Falcon Coach George Horton decided to let Fernando Lava pitch to James instead of walking him, which would have loaded the bases for Ralph Ramirez. James hit a 2-2 knuckleball into left field to drive in Gibbs.
“We were supposed to be pitching around him,” Horton said. “He hit a pretty good pitch, it was down and away. But, we would not have been in that spot had we been able to make the plays on the two balls hit before he came up.”
James, from Newport Harbor High School, set the home run record with a solo homer in the second inning to cut Cerritos’ lead to 4-1.
It was his 15th of the season, passing the mark of 14 set last season by Gene Roumimper.
In the next inning, James pulled a John Rodriguez pitch high over the right-field fence for his 16th of the season and a 5-5 tie.
James had tied the old mark on Tuesday when he hit a three-run home run in the Pirates’ 7-3 win over Compton.
A bases-loaded walk in the sixth gave him his 74th RBI, a single-season record he breaks with each run driven in. On Tuesday, James passed the old mark of 68, also held by Roumimper.
Three OCC errors, one by James on a base hit he let get past him, and two throwing errors by Gibbs, helped the Falcons gain a 4-0 lead in the first. Greg Mannion homered for Cerritos in the second to make it 5-1.
OCC finally appeared to take control with three runs in the sixth to lead 8-5. But the Falcons chased Pirate starting pitcher Longo Garcia in the seventh with Glenn Twardy’s two-run homer.
Freshman Mike Rishovd (3-0) replaced Garcia, gave up two runs in the eighth but still got the win.
In other South Coast Conference action:
Rancho Santiago 7, Saddleback 0--Sophomore right-hander Mike Schwabe (8-1) allowed five hits and struck out five in eight innings to lead the Dons past the Gauchos (5-11, 13-14) at Santa Ana. Steve Scarsone went 3 for 5 with a double and an RBI, and Matt Beltran had a double and two RBIs for the second-place Dons (11-5, 21-7).
Fullerton 11, Compton 4--Jeff Oberdink hit his fourth home run of the season in the second with a runner on and John Morin hit his fifth with two on in the eighth as the Hornets won at home. Phil Diplock was 2 for 5 with three RBIs for Fullerton (9-7, 15-13). The Hornets are in a three-way tie for third place with Cypress and Golden West. Sophomore Gary Stotereau (3-1) pitched the first five innings for the win.
Mt. San Antonio 5, Cypress 4--The Mounties upset the Chargers (9-7, 23-10) to drop them two games behind Rancho Santiago in the race for second place, and a playoff berth.