Community College Baseball : Rancho Santiago Tries to Brave One More Bye

Times Staff Writer

Rancho Santiago College hasn't fared well this season after having byes in its schedule, so Coach Don Sneddon hopes he has came up with a way around this week's break.

The Dons, who finished second in the Orange Empire Conference, had Tuesday--their normal game day--off before beginning the first round of the Southern California Regionals today with a 2 p.m. home game against East Los Angeles.

Rancho Santiago lost twice to last-place Riverside coming off byes this season. So instead of taking a break Tuesday, Sneddon held an intrasquad game.

"We made it as real as possible," he said. "We had a draft, announced the lineups and had the national anthem and an umpire."

With three games left in the conference season, Rancho Santiago had a one-game lead over Cypress. Following a bye, the Dons lost consecutive games to Riverside and Golden West before beating Saddleback on the season's final day to clinch second place.

Cypress doesn't begin play in the regionals until the third round, which starts May 19.

Rancho Santiago's opponent today, East Los Angeles, finished second in the Southern California Conference, but that's about all Sneddon knows of the Huskies.

"No one knows too much about them and there really aren't too many people to call," Sneddon said. "All we know is that if we take them too lightly, our season will be over."

Jack Bailey, a sophomore right-hander, will start for Rancho Santiago. Bailey is 11-4 with a 3.44 earned-run average.

Today's winner plays the winner of the Orange Coast/L.A. Valley game in the second round Saturday.

If Orange Coast and Rancho Santiago should meet again, it would mark the fifth time the teams have played this season.

Rancho Santiago won the first two meetings, 9-0 and 7-5, and Orange Coast took the next two, 8-5 and 14-7.

Orange Coast is expected to start sophomore left-hander Ryan Thibault against L.A. Valley today. Thibault is 9-1 with a 2.71 ERA and 94 strikeouts.

The Pirates' lineup also features Scott Talanoa, who leads the state in home runs with 16.

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