Community College Baseball Roundup : Paquette Powers Golden West Past Orange Coast, 10-9

Times Staff Writer

It took four home runs and four pitchers, but Golden West College held on for a 10-9 victory over Orange Coast in an Orange Empire Conference baseball game Saturday at OCC.

Golden West got a solo home run and a grand slam from Craig Paquette and solo home runs from Ken Lynch and Frank Herman to help build a 10-3 lead going into the seventh.

But OCC rallied for four runs in the seventh to chase starter Toby Foreman, who was replaced by Dave Turner. Turner was then replaced by Todd Long, who got the final out in the seventh. OCC loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Larry Perry flied out to end the inning.


Long retired the first batter in the ninth, but hit Mike Kelly and Hector Santa Cruz and was replaced by Ken Pope.

Craig Nixon grounded into a force play to leave runners on first and third with two outs. Kelly scored and Nixon went to second when Pope made a wild pickoff throw to first base.

Jason Young singled to score Nixon and make the score 10-9, and continued to second when right-fielder Steve McKowen let the ball get past him. With first base open, Golden West Coach Burt Villarreal had Scott Talanoa, who leads the conference with 16 homes runs, walked intentionally. Pope then got Marty Cordova to ground into a force play for the final out.

The victory moves Golden West (19-13-1 overall and 13-8 in conference play) back into the playoff race. Golden West is two games behind first-place Rancho Santiago (26-13, 15-6), a game behind second-place Cypress (28-13, 14-7) and one-half game behind third-place OCC (27-11-1, 14-8) with three games left.

The winner of the conference will get an automatic berth into the Southern California Regional playoffs, and the second- and third-place teams most likely will get at-large berths because of the overall strength of the conference.

Golden West plays host to Cypress Tuesday and is at Rancho Santiago Thursday. Riverside is at Golden West in the final conference game Saturday.

Saddleback is at OCC Tuesday and OCC is at Fullerton Thursday. The Pirates have a bye Saturday.

“We’ve been calling it hell week all season,” Villarreal said about playing conference powerhouses OCC, Cypress and Rancho Santiago in consecutive games. “But other teams are doing it, too. We knew if we didn’t win today, we were through. Now we have life for at least one more day.”

Paquette started the scoring with a solo home run in the third. OCC tied it in the third on a throwing error by Paquette. But Paquette came back and hit a grand slam on a changeup from OCC starter John Douris in the fourth, but it was an at-bat he never should have gotten.

With two on and two out, McKowen hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Mike Van Blaricom, who booted it for an error. Paquette followed with a fly ball that just got over the left-field fence.

It was the fourth time Paquette, who has 11 home runs, has hit two in one game this season.

Lynch and Mike Willie had RBI singles and Herman had an RBI groundout as Golden West scored three more times in the fifth to take an 8-1 lead.

Young had an RBI single in the fifth and Kelly had an RBI double in the sixth as OCC cut the lead to 8-3. Herman and Lynch hit home runs in the seventh and Golden West led, 10-3. Eddie Pierce had a two-run single and Perry had an RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch as OCC cut the lead to 10-7 in the seventh.

Cypress 12, Riverside 8--Chris Hunt hit a grand slam, Jim Short hit a two-run home run and Bobby Thome hit a solo home run for Cypress, which moved into second place. Jason Friedman had a two-run single for Cypress, which built a 12-3 lead going into the ninth. Dennis Burbank (11-4) pitched the first seven innings for the victory. Riverside is 6-25-1, 3-18-1.

Saddleback 5, Fullerton 4--Brent Ferguson hit a three-run home run in the seventh to help Saddleback (15-16-1, 7-13-1) defeat host Fullerton (12-24, 7-15). Ferguson’s homer gave Saddleback a 4-3 lead. Eric Patton got the victory, allowing seven hits in eight innings.