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Yuhl turns tide for OCC

Community College Baseball

Pitcher improves to 7-0 to help Pirates win at Cypress and solidify OEC lead.

March 20, 2012|By Barry Faulkner

CYPRESS — Moments after his complete-game victory in a crucial Orange Empire Conference baseball contest Tuesday, Orange Coast College sophomore pitcher Keegan Yuhl was finally rendered indecisive.

Yuhl's eyes rolled toward the sky and his head turned away from his inquisitor, who had wondered aloud if Yuhl remembered the last time he had lost on the mound.

"I don't remember my last loss," said Yuhl, who struck out eight and allowed nine hits in a 4-2 triumph for the Pirates (20-2-1, 7-1 in conference), ranked No. 1 in Southern California.

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Yuhl, who improved to 7-0, leads the state in victories and has won each of his seven starts this season after transferring from San Diego City, where he spent last season after leaving San Diego State.

"Keegan was spectacular today with his bulldog approach," said OCC Coach John Altobelli, who saw his husky right-hander surrender just three hits in the final six innings, during which he pitched to two more than the minimum and retired the side in order in the fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth innings. "He battled his butt off early and then we started getting the offense going."

Yuhl, who was 29-4 in three varsity seasons at Poway High in San Diego County, allowed only one extra-base hit, a double by Pierce Bily with two outs in the fifth. The right-hander, listed at 6-foot, 220 pounds, needed just 105 pitches to produce his first complete game of the season.

"I had a complete game last year [when he was 4-4 at San Diego City, which finished 15-18]," Yuhl said. "We don't usually need one with our [OCC] offense. We're usually up by 10 runs."

The most potent scoring offense in the state, however, was held scoreless through five innings, during which it managed just two hits and trailed, 1-0, against freshman Daniel Poncedeleon.

But Yuhl was hardly worried about a lineup that eventually posted hits by eight of the nine starters, including two hits apiece by Boog Powell, Joel Licon and Chris Carlson.

Licon, a sophomore shortstop, was two for four with a pair of runs batted in and one run. His sacrifice fly in the seventh put OCC ahead for good, 2-1.

Powell, a freshman center fielder whose .471 batting average ranks second in the state, also scored a run.

Carlson, a sophomore outfielder who is hitting .452 (fourth in the state) and around .800 in conference play, according to Altobelli, tripled and scored on a Stefan Sabol single in the eighth to put the visitors ahead for good.

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