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Community College Baseball : Orange Coast Arms Itself to Win Tournament Title

Times Staff Writer

Orange Coast College pitchers completed an impressive three-day run Friday when Tommy Irwin and Dominic Alvarez combined on a four-hitter to lead the Pirates to a 5-1 victory over Los Angeles Harbor in the championship game of the Long Beach tournament.

Orange Coast pitchers allowed three runs in 27 innings in three tournament games. Mike Golia and Eddie Pierce combined to defeat L.A. Harbor, 3-1, in the first round Wednesday, and Ryan Thibault and Brian McLeod combined to defeat Long Beach, 2-1, in the semifinal round Thursday. Orange Coast’s pitching started to pick up when John Douris threw a shutout against Riverside March 18. Pirate pitchers have allowed three runs in their last 36 innings.

Friday, Irwin (1-0) scattered four hits over the first five innings for the victory, but was ejected after a fight between the teams in the top of the sixth inning.

The fight began when Orange Coast’s designated hitter Scott Talanoa, who had a solo home run and an RBI single, was hit with a pitch by starter Leonard Fletcher.

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With the count three balls and one strike, Fletcher threw a curveball that hit Talanoa, who is 6-feet-5 and 235 pounds, on the left shoulder. Talanoa then charged the mound, and both benches emptied.

The game was delayed about 10 minutes as the umpires and coaches tried to cool off the various hot spots. Talanoa had also been hit by a pitch Wednesday when the teams met. Talanoa, Irwin and assistant coach Rick Stassi were ejected, and Fletcher was ejected for L.A. Harbor.

“They were after him,” OCC Coach Mike Mayne said. “I screamed and I ran after he was hit, but it was too late. . . . We didn’t handle the situation very well. We were kind of dumb. If you’re the starting pitcher, you shouldn’t be out there in a fight.”

L.A. Harbor Coach Jim O’Brien didn’t see the fight the same way.

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“What Talanoa did was totally uncalled for,” he said. “We’re not going to try and hit a guy with a curveball. He should have never charged the mound. I think these guys watch too much TV.”

Mark Pak replaced Talanoa and scored on a hit-and-run double by Peter McKeller to give Orange Coast a 5-0 lead. Talanoa had an RBI single in the first after Los Angeles Harbor made two errors. Jason Young hit a two-run home run after a walk to Hector Santa Cruz and Talanoa added a solo shot in the third inning.

Alvarez struggled when he entered the game in the sixth, but recovered for his first save for Orange Coast (18-7-1).

Alvarez walked the first batter, who later scored on a balk, but he retired the next nine batters he faced. He walked two batters in the ninth but got a double play to end the game.

L.A. Harbor, which was attempting to win three games in a row for the first time this season, is 13-11.


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