Community College Baseball : Pickler Plays a Hunch and Discovers Starter

Times Staff Writer

Cypress College Coach Scott Pickler has had a hunch since the start of the season that his ace relief pitcher, Bob Goodall, might be even more effective as a starter. Thursday afternoon, Pickler's hunch was proven right.

Goodall, in his first start, allowed no earned runs and only six hits to lead the Chargers to a 3-1 South Coast Conference victory over Golden West at Huntington Beach.

What made the sophomore right-hander's complete-game performance so impressive was the fact that it came against one of the best hitting teams around. In the Rustlers' last three wins, they had scored 16, 14 and 15 runs.

But against Goodall (3-0) it was Golden West that was a bit embarrassed. The Rustlers' only run, which came in the fourth inning, was unearned. And in each of the last three innings, when Golden West got its leadoff batter on base, Goodall bore down and stopped each rally.

"Bobby pitched a great game," Pickler said. "It was time to bring him out of the bullpen, because we just weren't using him enough in relief. He's made the most of his chance, and I think it's safe to say he'll stay in the starting rotation."

Cypress (3-1 in conference and 9-5 overall) broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with two runs. With one out, Jeff Nicks got his first of three hits, a single. Mark Baca followed with another hit, and after Chris Kocman flied out, James Jackle knocked in what turned out to be the winning runs with a towering double to right field.

No lead is ever safe against Golden West (3-2, 9-3-1), but on this day, the Rustlers might have just as well been behind by 10 runs. Goodall kept them off-balance with a variety of pitches and seemed to get stronger after as the game went on. He ended the game with a flourish, striking out pinch-hitter Steve Overeem and designated hitter Dan Garcia.

Cypress took a 1-0 lead against losing pitcher Larry Salaets (1-2) in the third by scoring an unearned run. Brian Flatten led off with a double, and two outs later, was at third base. Kocman then hit a routine ground ball to third baseman Scott Rath that should have ended the inning. But Rath, after fielding the ball cleanly, threw past first baseman Keith Kaub and Flatten scored.

Golden West tied it in the fourth with an unearned run. Shane Flores led off with a walk and Casey Martin singled him to second. Then Kocman made his second error of the game when he fielded Kaub's ground ball and made a bad throw to second attempting to start a double play. Goodall, faced with a bases-loaded, no-out situation, then struck out Rath before Chad Reed knocked in Golden West's lone run when he hit into a force play.

The Rustlers squandered a good chance in the second inning when they had runners at first and third with on outs. But the runner on first, Mike Campeau, was caught in a rundown by Goodall's pickoff move. While Cypress was trying top catch Campeau, Rath, the runner on third, broke for home and was thrown out. Campeau was then thrown out stealing by Flatten to end the inning.

Saddleback 8, Fullerton 2--John Sinclair gave up only one earned run en route to the Gauchos' upset victory at Saddleback. Steve Nichols and Albert Camacho both went 2 for 4 with two RBIs each for the Gauchos.

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