LCC up two games with 10 to play

04/30/2009 10:19

Tyler Pell

Issue date: 4/30/09 Section: Sports
 
Titans' infielder Cody Staniforth makes a throw to first base during LCC's weekend game. The Titans are battling Clackamas and Chemeketa for second place in the Southern region. Photo by JB BOTWINICK/The Torch
Titans' infielder Cody Staniforth makes a throw to first base during LCC's weekend game. The Titans are battling Clackamas and Chemeketa for second place in the Southern region. Photo by JB BOTWINICK/The Torch
Six of the Titans' final 10 games will be played at home which should help them in their quest for a spot in the NWAACC Championship. It should also help move up the Horizon Air Baseball Poll where they are currently ranked tenth, the highest they have been all season. Photo by JB BOTWINICK/The Torch
Six of the Titans' final 10 games will be played at home which should help them in their quest for a spot in the NWAACC Championship. It should also help move up the Horizon Air Baseball Poll where they are currently ranked tenth, the highest they have been all season. Photo by JB BOTWINICK/The Torch

Entering the homestretch of the season, LCC's baseball team is eyeing the No. 2 seed in the Southern region, and a place in the NWAACC championship.

Despite splitting its only two games this week, LCC was aided by a pair of losses from third place Clackamas Community College, giving the Titans a two-game lead. Ten games remain in the season's schedule.

"We've shown throughout the season that we can match up with the best teams in the NWAACC. We just need to maintain our focus, one game at a time," Titans Assistant Coach Justin Filip said.

On Saturday, April 25, LCC hosted the 7-13 Linn-Benton Community College Roadrunners.

The Roadrunners won the first game, 6-2, behind a complete game from pitcher Liam Baron, and a three-run homerun in the fourth inning from Zack Garret.

"We just flat got beat. Liam's had our number the last few years, but we're looking forward to getting another shot at him," Filip said.

LCC's Matt Solders went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

The Titans rebounded in the second game behind a strong effort from sophomore righty Sean O'Connor. O'Connor allowed only three hits and gave up no runs in the Titans' 11-1 victory.

"The key was throwing strikes early in the count. It's a lot easier to pitch when the hitter is being defensive up at the plate," O'Connor explained. "Our hitters did a great job coming out ready to play in that second game and when we score that many runs it really makes it easy on the pitching staff to go out there and pitch with the lead," he added.

The Titans' scoring barrage began in the first inning when Kyle Hansen singled in Brendan Hindle for the game's first run.

The Titans used Cory Staniforth's two-run single to put four more runs on the board in the third inning.

In the fifth inning, Kevin Shepherd's strong season at the plate continued when he drove in two of his four runs with a bases-loaded double.

"Our hitting really caught fire in the second game … we were hoping to come out of it with two wins, but we're in a good position now heading into our final 10 league games," Filip said.

LCC's doubleheader against Chemeketa Community College scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, was rained out, and has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 30.

Adding a pair of games on Thursday will make for a grueling stretch for LCC, especially its pitching staff, as the team has six games scheduled in six days.

"We're a little banged up right now, but Coach Lyle and the pitching staff have been making it work. Our guys are no strangers to adversity. We're going to go out there and play Titan baseball," Filip said.

After a pair of games against Chemeketa, who is 8-12 and in fourth place in the Southern region, LCC will host first place Mt. Hood Community College on Saturday, May 2. The Titans will close out the challenging six games in six days stretch on the road against Southwestern Oregon Community College, who at 5-15, is in last place.

Despite the tough week ahead, Filip said the Titans have one thing in mind: making the NWAACC tournament. "It's ours to lose," he said.