The Cypress College baseball team started Tuesday thinking it was playing to hold on to second place. The Chargers appeared to do that with an 9-4 victory over Golden West in an Orange Empire game at Golden West.
Then came the news that last-place Riverside had upset Rancho Santiago, 5-2, putting Cypress back into a first-place tie with the Dons with two games left in the race.
"We can't worry about what anyone else is doing," Cypress Coach Scott Pickler said. "We still have two tough games left and that is what we have to focus on."
Starting pitcher Jeff Patterson (8-3) allowed seven hits and no runs over seven innings and Cypress used seven consecutive hits in the fourth inning to score six runs and take an 8-0 lead. Patterson, who also pitches in relief, was taken out in case he is needed again this week.
Mitch Kaylor opened the game with a double and scored on a single by Doug Yates as Cypress took a 1-0 lead in the first. Terry Tewell hit his sixth home run in the second to give Cypress (29-13, 15-7) a 2-0 lead.
Brett Gregory opened the fourth with a single for Cypress. Ken Kendrena then singled and Joey Gonzales had an RBI single.
Mike Scott had an RBI single, and Golden West starter John Gonzales was replaced by Todd Long.
Long gave up RBI singles to Tewell and Kaylor and an RBI double to Steve Gill. Jason Friedman then grounded back to Long, who threw to the plate, but Kaylor knocked the ball loose from Golden West catcher Dan Villegas to score the final run of the inning.
Cypress scored on an RBI double by Bobby Thome in the fifth to take a 9-0 lead.
Robb Carabba had a two-run single and Jeff Repoz had a two-run double for Golden West (19-14, 13-9) in the ninth.
Rancho Santiago plays host to Golden West Thursday and is at Saddleback Saturday. Cypress plays at Saddleback Thursday and plays host to Fullerton Saturday in the final conference games.
The winner of the conference gets an automatic berth into the Southern California Regional playoffs, which start May 19.
In other Orange Empire games:
Riverside 5, Rancho Santiago 2--For the second time this season Riverside (7-25-1, 4-18-1) upset Rancho Santiago (26-14, 15-7) in Riverside. Jack Bailey (10-4) took the loss but had six strikeouts to set both the single-season and career strikeout record for Rancho Santiago. Bailey has 97 this season and 159 in his career. Riverside scored twice in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead. Tim Reynolds doubled to open Rancho Santiago's ninth inning but Conrad Colby struck out. John McTaggart was hit by a pitch, then he and Reynolds worked a double steal. Sean Ramos hit a sacrifice fly and then Marty Neff popped out to end the game. Mike Garcia (2-11) got the victory for Riverside.
Orange Coast 9, Saddleback 0--Ryan Thibault (9-1) pitched a five-hit shutout, striking out five and walking four for host OCC. Darrell Conner had two hits, including a double and two RBIs.