A couple of sore arms here, an ejection there and very little control everywhere equaled some pretty bleak times for the Rancho Santiago and Orange Coast college pitching staffs last week in their two-game series in the middle of the Orange Empire Conference schedule.
Rancho Santiago, which went into Tuesday's game with an 11-game winning streak and a two-game lead over OCC in the conference, lost twice in three days to OCC.
In the first game, a 16-4 rout by OCC, a fight broke out that resulted in four players being ejected in the second inning. Among them were Orange Coast's leading home-run hitter, Joey James, and Rancho Santiago's top relief pitcher, Richard Gonzales.
Frank Appice had hit a home run in the first inning off OCC's Greg Marshall. In the second inning, when Appice came up for his second at-bat, Marshall threw his first two pitches up and in on Appice. After a called strike, Appice was hit, and he charged the mound. Appice and Marshall were both ejected.
When OCC scored 11 runs in the eighth inning, all Gonzales could do was watch Coach Don Sneddon make four pitching changes.
Rancho Santiago was already without starters David Tellers and David Salcido because of sore arms.
The pitchers took another pounding two days later. OCC blew a 4-0 lead but scored seven runs in the eighth inning for a 14-12 victory and a tie for the conference lead.
The first time these two teams met, on March 27, six OCC pitchers were hit hard. Rancho Santiago scored seven runs in both the first and eighth innings en route to a 16-7 victory.
In three games, the two teams have totaled 69 runs (OCC 37, Rancho Santiago 32), 73 hits (OCC 37, Rancho Santiago 36) and 53 walks (OCC 30 and Rancho Santiago 23). Twenty-three of the walks resulted in runs scored (15 for OCC and 8 for Rancho Santiago).
"I've been getting calls from coaches all over Southern California and nobody is getting any pitching," OCC Coach Mike Mayne said last Thursday. "We just don't have anybody that can close an inning."
After last Thursday's game, Sneddon said, "I was most disappointed in the pitching in the series. Nobody has really stepped forward and done a job for us."
The teams will meet once more this season, May 5 at Rancho Santiago. The game is one of seven left in conference for each team, and it may decide the conference title, but don't expect a pitching duel.
Fight fallout: Roger Wilson, Rancho Santiago athletic director, will recommend to the conference that stronger language be added to the conference baseball by-laws that could include suspensions for pitchers who are judged to be throwing at hitters or for hitters who charge the mound.
The code states that the umpire should warn the pitcher on the first pitch, and that the pitcher should be ejected on the second.
"It's in the code book already but it just needs to be stronger," said Wilson, who was at the game. "We've never had a problem with Orange Coast in the past, and let's hope it's stopped now."
The Saddleback men's tennis team earned a share of the Orange Empire Conference title with Orange Coast by defeating the Pirates, 5-4, last Thursday. Both teams finished 9-1 in conference. Saddleback had won the previous eight titles. Saddleback had lost its first meeting with Orange Coast, 6-3.
On Tuesday, Saddleback led, 4-2, after the singles matches but lost the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles to tie the match, 4-4.
Saddleback's No. 2 doubles team of Mark Oryskevich and Mike Brown defeated OCC's Wil Marino and Jeff Casey, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, to decide the match. Oryskevich and Brown trailed in the second set, 2-3, before coming back.
Saddleback has won tennis championships in four conferences--Mission Pacific Coast, South Coast and Orange Empire--all under Coach Bill Otta.
Both teams will take part in the Southern California Regionals May 7-9 at Bakersfield.
Community College Notes
Alan Fraser, a forward on the Fullerton College basketball team, signed a letter of intent this week to attend Cal State Northridge. Fraser joins former Newport Harbor High School teammate Chuck McGavran, who played at Orange Coast this season and signed with Northridge last week. . . . Dana Carlson of Orange Coast finished fourth in the Southern California Heptathlon Championships at OCC with a score of 3,752. Loretta Crowder of OCC was sixth (3,572). The top six finishers, including winner Elaine Bergman (4,535) of San Diego Mesa, advance to the state track and field finals at American River College, May 15 and 16. In the men's decathlon, Fullerton's Brian Chapman (5,787) finished sixth and will advance to the final at American River. Michael Bryant (6,571) of Ventura won the event. . . . Cerritos is still the top team in the Southern California baseball poll. Orange Coast is second, College of the Canyons, the defending state champion, is third, Rancho Santiago fourth, Los Angeles Harbor fifth, Fullerton sixth, Mt. San Antonio seventh, Oxnard eighth, San Bernardino Valley ninth and Citrus 10th.