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Kennedy and Yurosek Run Down San Pedro

After assaulting the art of baserunning for seven innings, it was only fitting that the Kennedy High baseball team did its best running after the game.

Moments after Joey Yurosek’s catch at the left-field fence preserved a 3-2 victory over San Pedro on Tuesday in the second round of the City 4-A playoffs, the Cougars made a victory lap of a sprint toward their left fielder.

Earlier in the day, the Cougars (17-5) had almost run their way to defeat.

“There was no doubt I had to catch that ball,” Yurosek said after hitting the fence to grab Louis Gonzalez’s bid for a second home run. “With no one on, I was playing him deep because I didn’t want anything to go by me for extra bases.”

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Yurosek helped set up his own dramatics in the top of the inning by leading off with a single, then scoring the game-winning run on Todd Davis’ squeeze bunt.

It was his spectacular catch, however, that sealed the victory for Kennedy.

Before getting to the ball, Yurosek had to negotiate a dirt track and cement curb that runs through the outfield. Once past the obstacle course, he turned just in time to eliminate the Pirates (14-3).

“I wasn’t think about the fence or anything, because if I had, I probably would have dropped it,” Yurosek said. “I just got 100% on the ball.”

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San Pedro Coach Jerry Lovarov, who knows about the difficulty of covering his rough diamond, gave Yurosek his due. “You won’t see outfielders get to that ball here,” he said. “That’s usually a double off the fence on this diamond. But he went back to the fence nicely, and made a great play.”

The victory celebration that ensued was easily the best running Kennedy did against the Pirates. In the fourth and fifth innings, Kennedy almost ran itself into the off-season.

With the score tied, 1-1, third baseman Kevin Farlow led off the fourth with a single, and went to second on John Lauro’s fielding error. The threat died one out later when Farlow, running on his own, according to coach Dick Whitney, was thrown out trying to steal third.

An inning later, the Cougars ran into two outs on the base paths. Davis walked with one out and stole second base, only to be thrown out at third on Randy Sreden’s grounder to short.

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Sreden scored on a triple by Paul Plyler for a 2-1 Kennedy lead, but the inning ended when Plyler was thrown out while trying to stretch his two-out shot into a home run.

“When you don’t take advantage of an opportunity when you have one, you’re living on thin ice,” Whitney said. “It seemed like we were working our tails off just to get one run.”

But with Eric Evans (9-2) throwing a five-hitter and striking out eight, Kennedy survived its wastefulness. With the victory, the Cougars advance to a Friday playoff with Chatsworth, which defeated North Hollywood, 5-1, on Tuesday.

San Pedro’s only earned run off Evans came in the second, when Gonzalez blasted a leadoff home run to tie the game at 1-1. Gonzalez almost tied the game again in the seventh, but his potential game-tying drive wound up in Yurosek’s mitt.

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The Cougars had not run out of drama.


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