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COMMUNITY COLLEGE REGIONAL BASEBALL PLAYOFFS : Cypress Wins, Has Advantage Over L.A. Pierce

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jason Bates drove in five runs, and Doug McConathy drove in four to help the Cypress College baseball team beat Los Angeles Pierce, 15-3, Saturday and advance to the championship game of the second round of the Southern California Regional.

Cypress plays Pierce, an 11-10 victor over Harbor in a 10-inning Saturday afternoon game, at 11 a.m. today at Harbor for the championship of the four-team, double-elimination regional. The teams will play a doubleheader if Pierce wins. Cypress, undefeated in the second round, needs only one victory for a berth in the State final four at Sacramento.

“That was a good one to have,” Cypress Coach Scott Pickler said. “That puts us in a good position, but it’s not over.”

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Cypress (32-14) had 15 hits, seven for extra bases, and held Pierce, the Western State Conference co-champion (24-14 after the morning game), to five hits.

“That’s as good a team as we’ve seen,” said Bob Lofrano, Pierce co-coach. “I thought Cypress was the best team in this four-team tournament, and I still tend to believe that.”

Four of Cypress’s first five batters scored, three on a Tom Puppe single that Pierce center fielder Erik Martinez misplayed into a bases-clearing error.

McConathy drove in a run in the third, and Bates had a two-run fourth-inning double to put Cypress ahead, 7-3, going into the sixth. Cypress put the game out of reach with a five-run sixth.

Bates hit a three-run homer to right, and McConathy followed three batters later with a two-run homer to right-center.

“I don’t know if we’re peaking, but we’re playing all right,” Pickler said. “I really think our guys are more focused right now because of the playoff situation.”

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Cypress starter Roger Weems (6-2) allowed four hits in six innings.

Troy Babbitt had three hits and scored two runs for Cypress. Bates had two hits and two runs, McConathy had three hits and three runs and Puppe had three hits.

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