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Trachsel Baffles Canyons

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A flag tap-dancing in the brisk breeze blowing out at College of the Canyons’ launching pad of a field Friday seemed to portend offensive pyrotechnics, but Canyons’ flagging offense fizzled altogether.

Canyons was blown away when Fullerton right-hander Steve Trachsel went low and away with an effective mix of fastballs, split-finger fastballs and curves.

Trachsel held seventh-seeded Canyons scoreless for 8 2/3 innings, and Fullerton defeated the Cougars, 4-2, in the opening game of the state baseball tournament Southern California regional.

“I think Trachsel is pretty darn good,” Canyons Coach Len Mohney said. “He matched up well with our offense. He could just own the outside of the plate with that slider. . . . He’s a guy you need to go the other way with, and we’re not very good at that.”

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Trachsel (9-3), a sophomore right-hander, did not allow an earned run and walked two.

He extended the Cougars’ scoreless streak to nearly 18 innings before Chris Vasquez hit a two-out, two-strike, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth. Canyons (24-14) was blanked in its previous game after having scored in its first 36 contests.

Vasquez’s home run, his seventh, was a high, slicing fly to left with Mike Kerber on base.

However, Canyons’ bats had been so mute, Vasquez’s home run was moot, and Trachsel completed his six-hitter two batters later.

If Canyons’ offense wasn’t doing any damage, its defense certainly was. The Cougars committed five errors, but atoned somewhat by erasing six Fullerton baserunners.

In the third inning, Fullerton (25-13) scored its first run when a play backfired.

Canyons third baseman Jon Beauchemin fielded a ground ball, faked a throw to first and pivoted to catch the runner leaning off third. His throw to third went awry, though, allowing Willy Speakman to dash home.

Benny Rodriguez, demoted from leadoff to ninth in the batting order, gave Fullerton a 2-0 lead with a solo home run in the fifth. He reached base in each of his four at-bats.

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Fullerton put together three consecutive singles to score another run in the sixth off starter Mike Teich.

Teich (6-3) took the loss after allowing three runs, two earned, and eight hits in six innings.

“Teich did all right. He sort of did what we wanted him to do,” said Mohney, who added that limiting Fullerton to four runs on a blustery day should have been sufficient for his usually potent offense.

Jeff Adams opened the seventh in relief of Teich and allowed only one run, a ninth-inning home run by former Glendale College player David Weckerle.

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Canyons led the Western State Conference with a .360 average in conference play but its first five batters were a combined two for 20 and no starter had more than one hit.

The teams will play the second game of the best-of-three series at 11 this morning today at Canyons and a third game, if necessary, 30 minutes after the completion of game two.

“Tomorrow morning becomes a bit of a gut check,” Mohney said.

PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: C17

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