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Community College Regional Baseball Playoffs : OCC Ends Its Season With a Whimper as San Diego Mesa Wins

May 19, 1986|STEVE KRESAL

SAN DIEGO — It simply was a case of teams going in different directions.

Orange Coast College came into the state community college baseball regional playoff against San Diego Mesa having lost four of its last seven games.

The Olympians had closed their Pacific Coast Conference championship season with seven consecutive victories.

San Diego Mesa made it nine straight victories Sunday, defeating the Pirates, 10-5, to sweep the best-of-three game series, two games to none. Mesa won the first game Saturday, 5-4, with two runs in the bottom of the ninth.

The victory advances San Diego Mesa (33-6) to the state tournament this weekend in Long Beach.

Part of the reason the Pirates (31-10) struggled through the last three weeks of the season was injuries.

Sophomore right-hander Longo Garcia was bothered by a sore right shoulder that forced him to miss a start and come out of two others early.

Having rested eight days, Garcia started Sunday and allowed only three runs through seven innings.

But in the top of the eighth, he walked two batters and gave up a single with one out to shortstop Larry Simms. Then, on a 1-1 pitch to pinch-hitter John Qsar, Garcia clutched his shoulder in pain and was forced to leave the game. Garcia (8-2) took the loss. Qsar hit relief pitcher Mike Rishovd's first pitch for a single to right field to give the Olympians a 4-2 lead. Rishovd walked the next two batters and was taken out.

Rishovd was replaced by left-hander John Dishon, who recorded a strikeout before giving up a three-run double to second baseman Tim Quinn, who was 2 for 5 with three RBIs. On Saturday, Quinn was 3 for 4 with one RBI.

Jay Makemson replaced Dishon to get the final out of the inning, a signal that the end of the Pirates' season was not far away.

San Diego Mesa sent 13 batters to the plate, scored seven runs on four hits and got six walks off the four OCC pitchers in the eighth inning.

The OCC staff walked 10 in the game and 17 in the two games.

"After the score was 3-2, I told everyone to watch for signs because we were going to play for one run," San Diego Mesa Coach Eric Swanson said. "We just took advantage of their walks and I'm glad we did. I did not want to play a second game."

The Pirates mounted a minor rally in the eighth, scoring three runs. Brett Webber had an RBI single and the other two runs came on fielders' choices.

The rally ended when relief pitcher Eric Bridge got Joey James to pop out to third baseman Zac Valade, who made a diving catch as he and first baseman Mike Thomas ran into each other.

Valade, who started in right field before moving to third base in the seventh, took an extra-base hit away from OCC's Mark Rassmussen in the fifth.

Rassmussen lined the ball down the right-field line, only to have Valade extend his body and make a diving catch that Sawnson said was one of the best he has seen.

The catch became even more important when the next three runners reached base for OCC. But two fly balls ended the threat.

Bridge replaced starter Dean Wilkins (13-4), who got the victory.

"That was not the best Dean Wilkins has pitched," Swanson said. "He just figured out some way to get them out. He is just that tough even without his best stuff."

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