For the last three years, the Sunset League and Trinity League have faced each other in exhibition play before the start of the high school baseball season.
It’s only fitting that two of the top leagues in the state squared off in another exhibition to cap off the season.
The format is a little different at the end compared to at the beginning. In the Sunset League vs. Trinity League Baseball Challenge in January and February, a Sunset League team plays a Trinity League team. The last matchup brought together each league’s veterans for one game under the lights in the Ryan Lemmon Senior Showcase.
Pitching ruled on Friday night. The Trinity League and Sunset League played a low-scoring affair, with the Trinity League winning 2-1 at Windrow Community Park in Irvine.
In all, 21 batters struck out, 11 for the Sunset League and 10 for the Trinity League.
Fountain Valley’s Nathan Wilson got the start on the mound for the Sunset League, and he struck out two in his only inning of work. Newport Harbor’s Matt Weiss fanned three in the fourth inning, Edison’s Riley Haddon struck out two in the fifth, Huntington Beach’s Zeke Ziegler struck out two in the sixth, and Los Alamitos’ Brayden Englert had one strikeout in the seventh.
The Trinity League only allowed three hits. The first drove in the game’s first run.
Marina left fielder Drey Despot was the first Sunset League batter to reach base, walking after eight pitches in the second inning. Despot made it home from first on Los Alamitos second baseman Lucas Gonzalez’ two-out double toward left-center field off JSerra’s Jake Reed.
The Trinity League tied it at 1-1 in the bottom half of the second. Bellflower St. John Bosco’s Martin Robles doubled in a run, and he tried to give the Trinity League the lead. Robles motored home on a single to left by Santa Margarita’s Andrew Baker, but Despot hit the cut-off man, Fountain Valley third baseman Noah Amenta, who fired home to Huntington Beach catcher Nick Lopez and Lopez tagged Robles for the third out.
The third inning is when the Trinity League went ahead. JSerra’s Conner Longrie led off with an infield single, and he moved over to second on a slow grounder to third, then he made it to third on a passed ball. Mater Dei shortstop Emilio Rosas’ sacrifice fly to left field brought Longrie home to give the Trinity League a 2-1 lead.
The Sunset League threatened in the top of the fourth. Amenta walked with one out and Despot reached base on a throwing error. Huntington Beach’s Nate Madole pinch-ran for Amenta, and on a double steal, Madole and Despot moved up a base. Servite right-hander Grant Newton stranded the runners by getting the next two batters out via strikeout.
Only two other Sunset League players recorded a hit. Newport Harbor’s Brad Siegel singled in the fifth and Huntington Beach’s Justin Brodt singled in the sixth.
Edison right fielder Chase Hanson and Lopez each walked. Hanson, who was taken in the 38th round with the 1,148th overall pick by the Chicago Cubs in this week’s Major League Baseball Draft, also stole a base. The left-handed hitting Hanson plans to play baseball at UNLV.
Hanson was the fourth player from a Huntington Beach high school to go in the draft. The PA announcer at the game thought the first was the 6-foot-7 Brodt, but it was his older brother, Jake Brodt, who last played for the Oilers in 2014 and at Santa Clara University this year as a senior. The Toronto Blue Jays took Brodt, a first baseman, with the 266th pick in the ninth round.
The other former Oilers who got selected were UC Santa Barbara junior pitcher Noah Davis (11th round, No. 319) by the Cincinnati Reds and UCLA junior outfielder Daniel Amaral (14th round, No. 414) by the Pittsburgh Pirates.