Valencia – It wasn’t pretty but it worked.
The College of the Canyons Cougars overcame four costly errors and timely hitting from L.A. Mission college Wednesday afternoon to beat the Eagles 7-5, capturing their first Western State Conference win of the season.
After dropping their conference opener on Saturday at West L.A. COC needed to rebound against their rivals to stay in the hunt for a conference championship said head coach Chris Cota.
“It was a big win today,” said Cota. “Especially at home, I think we played a little sloppy today but it was a big win.”
The Cougars were forced to send the freshman John Salas to the mound for his second start of the season due to injuries in the pitching staff. It didn’t start well for Salas as the second batter of the game, Niko Garcia hit his first home run of the season. Mission struck first with an early 1-0 lead.
Michael Brown doubled to the left-center field gap in the bottom of the second advancing Robbie Mousselli to third. The very next hitter, Kasey Toven, doubled down the right field line to give COC the 2-1 lead.
Toven was 2 for 3 with one run scored and one run batted in. Cougars held the lead till the seventh as Salas worked his way out jams all game long. Salas went seven and a third innings, striking out six and allowing just three earned runs on eight hits.
“I was staying focused, not letting anything get to me,” said the freshman. “If you don’t get the call, then you don’t get the call, whatever happens, happens.”
After Mission scored once in the seventh to tie the game at two, behind RBI singles by Cal Vogelsang and Robbie Mousseli. Cougars had a 4-2 lead after seven. Mousseli went 1-4, scoring one run and driving in two runs.
COC couldn’t hold on to that lead again in the eighth as Salas gave up two runs before exiting the game for Andy Arriaga who gave up one run on one hit in an inning and two thirds, striking out six. Mission had a 5-4 lead at the end of the top of the eighth inning.
Cougars showed their resilience all game long, scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth on errors.
“I don’t think our team ever felt like they didn’t have chance to win this game,” said the pleased coach. “Obviously to answer with three runs in the eighth was huge for us.”
The Cougars will travel to Bakersfield on Thursday for a big conference matchup against the Bakersfield Renegade at 2 p.m. before playing at Glendale on Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Our conference is tough with a lot of high ranked teams, it’s going to be a lot of fun and we’ll see how it all unfolds,” said Cota.