A year ago, the Laguna Beach High baseball team ran away with the Orange Coast League championship.
In doing so, the Breakers fended off challenges from two key contenders for the title, Estancia and Calvary Chapel, en route to a 15-0 league season. Tuesday at Skipper Carrillo Field, the Breakers met one of those challengers in the new league season, and came away with another victory.
Laguna used an all-around team effort and turned a sound performance into an 11-2 victory over visiting Estancia to go up, 1-0, in its three-game league series with the Eagles.
Senior Preston GrandPre led the offense, going three for five with two stolen bases and two runs scored. Senior Richie Nunis doubled among two hits and drove in two runs, senior Grant Wilhelm doubled and singled and had an RBI, junior Callan Cochran had a hit and two RBIs, sophomore Jack Simon had two hits and an RBI, and sophomore Will McInerny had an RBI.
The Breakers took control immediately, scoring four runs in their first at-bat for a 4-0 lead. They scored a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings to extend their advantage to 8-0 heading into the fifth.
Sophomore pitcher Zak Kovacic threw five innings and took the win.
Laguna improved to 3-0 in league, and 7-1, overall.
The Breakers are ranked fourth in CIF Southern Section Division 4.
"We hit, played catch, threw strikes, and ran the bases very well," Laguna Coach Mike Bair said. "Those are the pillars of winning games.
"Estancia competes well and is a tough team. Winning [Tuesday], was huge."
Laguna's offense was even more potent in a 23-2 league win March 21 over visiting Saddleback. An 8-0 lead after one inning sent the Breakers on their way.
Senior Steven Harrison doubled three times and finished with four hits to lead Laguna's 25-hit attack. Wilhelm tripled twice, Nunis homered and he and Simon both drove in a team-high four runs.
McInerny got the win and improved to 2-0.
In three league games, the Breakers have outscored the opposition by a combined 50-8.
Laguna goes after its fourth league win Friday when they travel to Costa Mesa to take on Calvary Chapel at 3:15 p.m. at TeWinkle Park.
Bair said Wilhelm will draw the starting pitching assignment Friday.
Laguna begins play Saturday at the Anaheim Lions Tournament. The Breakers open with a 10 a.m. game against the Magnolia Sentinels at Brookhurst Park. They face Viewmont of Utah at 4:30 p.m. at Boysen Park.
The tournament resumes Monday and runs daily through Wednesday.
The Breakers return to Orange Coast League play at 3:15 p.m. April 4 when they play host to Costa Mesa.
The Breakers took on Rancho Alamitos in a nonleague game Tuesday, and lost, 14-5, to the visiting Vaqueros, 14-5, at Thurston Middle School.
Laguna also fell, 23-1, to Estancia Mach 20 in an Orange Coast League game for both teams at Thurston.
The Breakers took on JSerra Thursday. The score from the nonleague game wasn't available at press time.
Laguna is back in action on Tuesday and plays host to Newport Harbor in a 4 p.m. nonleague game at Thurston.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Baseball: Laguna Beach (No. 4, Division 4).