College of the Canyons baseball was a different team on Thursday against Western State Conference foe Antelope Valley College than when it took on the Marauders earlier this week.
The Cougars rebounded from Tuesday’s loss to take down the Marauders, 18-5, at Antelope Valley behind Cole Kleszcz’s two home runs and five RBIs.
“I think we had a real good practice yesterday,” said COC coach Chris Cota. “We did some things with our approach during batting practice and it carried over.
“Today (Justin) Dehn threw the ball well, and once we got the bats going, they really didn’t stop.”
COC (18-10 overall, 11-2 in WSC, East) held Antelope Valley scoreless until the seventh inning, but got its own bats warmed up in the third.
Senituli Taufahema scored on a wild pitch, then the Cougars scored on Calvin Estrada’s sacrifice fly. Chris May had an RBI single to close out the inning.
Canyons piled on six runs in the next three innings and scored seven more in the seventh inning alone.
It began when Freddie Garcia scored on a wild pitch. Cole Kleszcz, Estrada and Paul Banyi hit RBI singles and James Scanlan closed out the inning with a three-run double.
“It’s nice to see guys when they do get a chance that they’re ready to go in and play,” Cota said. “Jim Scanlen, who was our starting first baseman this year and was relegated to the bench after struggling, was able to swing the bat pretty well today. It’s nice to see that.”
The Cougars allowed a run in the eighth and the ninth, while scoring two for themselves in the eighth.
Dehn allowed three runs (one earned) on seven hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
Kleszcz was 4-for-6, homering in the sixth and eighth innings.
“I think him in our leadoff spot … teammates look up to him,” Cota said. “They consider him one of the team leaders and he’s a good player that playing like a good ball player.”
COC finishes out the three-game series against Antelope Valley on Friday at home at 2:30 p.m.