If the home run is considered one of baseball's brilliant moments, College of the Canyons left Pierce blinded by the light Thursday.
"We're really hitting the ball well," acting Canyons Coach Andy Allensworth said in gross understatement. "We're really hitting the ball hard . . ."
Allensworth stopped, looked around the Canyons field, then added, "I guess there really isn't much to say about this game."
Except that Canyons has served notice that it has no intention of resting on the laurels of last season's state championship team. This team, the one with eight first-year starters, can do nicely on its own, thank you.
Not only did Canyons hit seven home runs, but three Cougar pitchers held a strong-hitting Pierce team to only one run. The result was an overwhelming 22-1 Western State Conference win that left Canyons undefeated in conference (8-0), and left Pierce Coach Charlie Williams looking for a quick exit.
"The point is," Williams said, stuffing his equipment bag, "we didn't play well and were short on pitching."
Conversely, Canyons is loaded with pitching, enough so that Allensworth juggled his lineup throughout the game, even bringing in No. 1 starter Fred Riscen to mop up.
Roger Nix, Billy Picketts, Mike Bible, Len Hokanson, Vic Sotello, Gary Ray and Andy Cutchall were the Cougars who joined in on the home-run derby. Canyons scored two runs in the first, seven in the third, one in the fourth, and four in the fifth. Still, the Cougars weren't through. They scored one in the sixth and seven in the eighth.
Cutchall's home run, a line-drive grand slam in the eighth, prompted Riscen to turn to a group of observers near the Canyons dugout and say "Welcome to the Temple of Boom." Riscen was referring to the Canyons field, a hitter's park.
"The toughest part of coaching a game like this," said Allensworth, who is substituting for Coach Len Mohney while he recovers from surgery, "is keeping the team concentrated on the game."
Jordan Cook, Canyons' freshman starting pitcher from Birmingham High, made his first start in a month. He pitched four complete innings, giving up Pierce's only run--a homer by Mark Bowen. Canyons' John Schmidt relieved Cook and didn't give up a run, despite seeing only limited action this season.
Riscen relieved Schmidt in the eighth to face his former teammates. Riscen transferred last season to Canyons from Pierce, where he led the state in strikeouts.
The only Canyons starters who didn't homer were shortstop Ted Weisfuss and first baseman Mark Geiseke. Weisfuss had to settle for two singles, a double and a run batted in, while Geiseke had three singles and an RBI.