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Canyons Disarms Cerritos

Baseball: Cougars overpower touted Falcons' staff to complete a two-game sweep in first round of regional, 10-4.

May 11, 1997|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VALENCIA — Don't feed the College of the Canyons batters any theories about good pitching stopping good hitting.

And, for sure, don't feed them too many fat fastballs.

The Cougars unleashed their potent offense and defeated Cerritos, 10-4, on Saturday at Canyons to sweep a Southern California Regional best-of-three first-round series.

Canyons (33-13) advanced to one of two four-team, double-elimination regional tournaments next weekend. The winners of those tournaments qualify for the state championships May 24-26 at Fresno.

"I'm glad we didn't have to go three games," said Len Mohney, Canyons coach.

The Cougars figured to see some first-rate pitching against Cerritos (29-14-3), a team that featured five hurlers with earned-run averages under 3.00.

It hardly bothered them.

On Friday, Canyons pounded the Falcons, 11-3, and on Saturday took care of right-hander Mando Gonzalez (10-3), the Cerritos ace.

Gonzalez lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and five walks, and was betrayed by a shaky infield that committed three errors. Only one of the five runs he gave up was earned.

Canyons right-hander Kevin Hyde pitched beautifully until tiring with two out in the fifth. He yielded two hits, including a home run by Dan Harkey in the second inning, struck out two and walked three.

Reliever Wayne Mahaffey (4-2), a submarine-style pitcher, allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings before Brock Benson shut down Cerritos in the ninth.

Hyde, in particular, was supported with outstanding defense, especially from second baseman Kasey Canale, who ranged far to his left twice in the first two innings to take hits away from the Falcons.

"They don't have the greatest arms, but they know how to pitch," said Ken Gaylord, Cerritos coach. "They battle."

Canyons, playing as the visiting team, took a 1-0 lead when Rob Rehfeld led off the game with a single and scored with one out on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Abel Orozco on Hiram Damwijk's grounder.

The Falcons tied it, 1-1, on Harkey's blast over the left-center field fence but Canyons scored three runs in the fourth inning with the help of two errors by shortstop Dave Mercado.

Canyons went ahead, 5-1, in the fifth when Luis Sanchez doubled to left with one out and scored on Kris Yeaman's fly out to center field.

Designated hitter David Soto and first baseman Dan Bir hit consecutive doubles against left-hander Mike Martinez to open the seventh, and second baseman Jeremy Seipel smashed a two-run home run to put Canyons ahead, 8-1.

The Falcons pulled to within 8-3 in the seventh on Mike Bumstead's two-run home run against Mahaffey but the Cougars got the runs back in the eighth, the second on Soto's home run.

Soto, a freshman from Kennedy High, had three hits and scored three runs.

"We didn't want to take our chances," Soto said. "We wanted two [victories] and out."

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