Tulsa Native Reflects On Journey To The Big Leagues - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Tulsa Native Reflects On Journey To The Big Leagues

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According to Tresa Keuchel, it didn't take long for people to recognize her son Dallas as someone with "big league" potential.

Keuchel said, "When he was playing tee ball at the field across from Bishop Kelley, one of the moms came up to me and said, 'You know he'll be in the big leagues someday Tresa.'"

It was the kind of prediction that could earn a tip of the hat from Nostradamus. 

Granted, Dallas Keuchel went on to be a great amateur player. He racked up a pair of 5A state titles at Bishop Kelley including a strikeout in his final high school game to clinch the second.

And Keuchel anchored a 2009 Arkansas team which reached the semi-finals of the College World Series. But statistically, the odds are still unfavorable when it comes to making it all the way to the Major Leagues.

Dallas's father Dennis saw it coming after the Astros drafted Keuchel in the 7th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft.

"I did," claimed Dennis. "Especially after he got drafted, I had a timetable in the back of my mind. But I never told anybody because I didn't want to jinks it."

Well Dennis did tell Tresa. So at least there's a witness.

It isn't like making it to the Major League level is guaranteed. There's a learning curve at each level of development. Even Dallas had to embrace it.

Keuchel admitted, "Each time I moved up to the next level I got bounced around a little bit. But it made me better going into the next year."

"And I think this year coming into Triple-A, I knew what I needed to do."

He was right. And the Astros rewarded Keuchel with his first Major League start on June 17th against the Rangers in Arlington.

Dallas returned the favor by surrendering just 1 run through 5 complete innings against a team that can put up football scores on any given night.

Keuchel loaded the bases on more than one occasion in that game, but escaped unscathed. While Dallas was never overwhelmed by the significance of the moment, his parents couldn't make the same claim.

"It was surreal," said Tresa.

Dennis explained, "Words can't describe what it's like seeing your kid on a major league mound."

"I cried," Tresa admitted. "Throughout the first inning I cried... it was so surreal."

Keuchel said that kind of performance against arguably the best offensive team in the game was as much of a confidence boost as any he can recall.

It certainly helped his encore performance. Keuchel threw a complete game to earn his first major league victory, surrendering just 1 run on 6 hits. 

The Astros admitted to Keuchel they weren't expecting him to do that well so quickly. It forced the organization to make a 6-day rotation just to keep him around; at least for a while.

After his first four starts, the Astros demoted Keuchel to their triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City to make room for more relief pitching. The move would last at least until after the All-Star break.

"What [Houston] told me was you're sitting pretty right now with everything that might be going on over the All-Star break; or the end of the month at the trade deadline," said Keuchel.

"I'm just trying to do my job in Oklahoma City or where ever I might pitch at for another shot."

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