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Cougars stay ahead at the top

Posted: March 30, 2008 2:09 a.m.
Updated: May 31, 2008 5:02 a.m.

College of the Canyons pitcher Caleb Deville, a Valencia High School graduate, pitches the ball in a game against Glendale College. The Cougars beat Glendale 9-6

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With its 9-6 win over Glendale College at home on Saturday, the College of the Canyons baseball team stands alone in first place.

The Cougars stay a game ahead of Bakersfield College, which lost on Saturday.

COC defeated Glendale by launching three home runs - a single-game season-high - and also making the Vaqueros pay for their mistakes.

After a potential double-play ball went off the glove of the Vaqueros shortstop and turned into an error, the Cougars took full advantage and scored three runs in the second inning. Dean Benavidez was hit by a pitch from starter Chris Turner, also prolonging the frame. They sent nine hitters to the plate in the inning.

"They made a big error and we capitalized on it," said COC head coach Chris Cota by phone afterwards.

COC (18-8, 12-2) spread its scoring out over six different innings. Kyle Harris (2-for-5, two runs scored) led off the third inning with a home run and Tyreace House (2-for-4, two runs scored) did the same to lead off the fourth.

Benavidez (1-for-3, two RBIs) added a solo homer in the fifth, one of two runs scored in the frame.

Glendale College scored three runs in the seventh to cut the deficit to 8-6, but the Cougars tacked on a run in the eighth for some extra cushion on a sacrifice fly by Julian Cruz, a Saugus graduate.

Also for COC, Brian Hernandez was 3-for-5 with a run scored and Brian Charnock, a Hart graduate, was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Luis Perez was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

On the mound, Caleb Deville (6-1) went six innings giving up three runs. The right hander walked one and struck out nine. Deville is 4-0 over his last four starts.

"He's a guy when you give him the ball he wants to finish the game," Cota said. "He's been able to throw three pitches for strikes almost anytime in the count. He keeps hitters off balance. That's where he gets his success."

Deville, a Valencia graduate, is part of a pitching staff that has been solid all season for COC and has been a crucial component in the team's impressive run through the first half of Western State Athletic Conference play.

The Cougars got off to a 3-6 start heading into the conference slate and their last 16 contests they have won every game but two. They lost 11-7 to Bakersfield on March 25, COC's first conference loss since the second game of WSAC play falling to Citrus on Feb. 26.

"Our starters have really been the key to what's been going on," Cota said. "Caleb Deville Kody Kurowski, and Mike McCravey have all been exceptional."

The Cougars begin the second half of the WSAC slate on Tuesday, the start of a home-and-home series with Pierce.

COC will travel to Pierce on Tuesday and then host the Brahmas on Thursday.

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