SAN BERNARDINO — If nothing else, you had to admire Mike Schwabe's endurance.
Schwabe, a Rancho Santiago College right-hander, allowed 14 hits, including four home runs, Saturday against San Bernardino Valley, but he was able to pitch a complete game in the Dons' 14-7 victory to open the best-of-three community college regional playoff at San Bernardino.
And that was no easy task, considering the 3 1/2-hour game was played in 96-degree heat.
Schwabe (12-1) from Tustin High School, threw 160 pitches, almost twice his average for eight innings. He struck out nine.
"Mike is the one guy I don't have to worry about how many pitches he throws," said Don Sneddon, Rancho Santiago coach. "He has the kind of arm that would allow him to even pitch some on Sunday (today), if we need him."
So, going into this morning's game at 11, the remainder of the Don pitching staff will be well rested.
The same cannot be said for the Indians, who will have to defeat the Dons twice today to advance to next weekend's state championship tournament at Long Beach.
Rancho Santiago (29-8), second-place finisher in the South Coast Conference, pounded five San Bernardino pitchers, including ace Chuck Lavrusky, for 17 hits. First baseman Ruben Gonzalez led the Dons with a double, a triple, his 14th home run and five RBIs.
The double, off losing pitcher Fred Gomez in the fourth inning, drove in two runs to put Rancho Santiago ahead for good at 7-5.
The Dons, thanks to a five-run second inning, had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the third. The Indians (33-10), champions of the Inland Valley Conference, tied the score 5-5 on a two-run home run by Dino Ebel and a solo home run by Mark Farr.
Rancho Santiago, which had not been in the state playoffs since 1952, increased its lead to 12-5 with a five-run fifth.
Chris Chase and Frank Appice each had run-scoring doubles before Gonzalez hit a line drive over the center-field fence with two on.
Appice and Brent Reese each had three hits for the Dons. Leadoff hitter Kenny Davis was 4 for 5 with a home run to lead the Indians. John Nagy hit San Bernardino Valley's other home run.
If the Indians are going to have any chance to sweep the Dons today, Coach Stan Sanchez said his pitchers will need better control.
"We were behind on the count all day, and that made them better hitters," he said. "We have got to make better pitches, or our season will be over."