Los Angeles Times

Baseball-Softball: Breakers grab league crown

There are still three Orange Coast League games to be played, but you can already call the Laguna Beach High baseball team, league champion.

The Breakers earned a repeat title Tuesday by rallying to edge visiting Godinez, 6-5. The win sent the Breakers to 12-0 in league and gave them no worse than a tie for the championship.

Laguna holds a three-game lead on Calvary Chapel, a team they trice defeated in league play this year, the final time coming May 2, heading into the final week of the regular season.

"To reach your goal of winning league is a great accomplishment, and this group believes we can make a solid CIF run in postseason," Laguna Coach Mike Bair said.

Laguna fell behind, 2-0, through 1 1/2 innings but came up with a four-run rally in the bottom of the second to go in front. The Grizzlies, however, scored once in the top of the third and twice in the fifth to grab a 5-4 advantage, but the Breakers scored single runs in the sixth and their final at-bat, to pull out their ninth-straight win.

A pair of seniors came though in the final two innings. Grant Wilhelm hit a score-tying RBI double in the sixth, and Garrett Burk had the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the seventh.

Another senior, Preston GrandPre, also had a big performance Tuesday. GrandPre went three for four from the plate and stole two bases and drove in a pair or runs. Additionally, he threw one inning, striking out two and recorded the win to improve to 2-0.

Sophomores Zak Kovacic and Will McInerny both threw three innings for the Breakers, ranked seventh in CIF Southern Section Division 4, who are now 21-2 overall.

"McInerny kept the game close in relief, and our bats came up huge in the clutch once again with a walk-off victory in the bottom of the seventh," Bair said.

Tuesday's title-clinching victory followed a key, 5-3 win May 2 over Calvary Chapel at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa. The triumph gave Laguna the league series (3-0) and more importantly, a three-game edge, on the Eagles in the league standings.

Second-place Calvary Chapel rebounded and improved to 9-3 in league Tuesday by shutting out Costa Mesa, 13-0.

Wilhelm (two hits) and junior Jake Smith both had an RBI double, senior Richie Nunis singled and drove in a run, Burk went two for three, and freshman Dante Faicchio singled.

Wilhelm threw four innings and got the win in running his unblemished record to 10-0.

Freshman Ashton Goddard got the save by getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh.

"A great team win with everyone contributing," is how Bair described the performance. "We had some key defensive plays by [Callan] Cochran and [Preston] GrandPre, clutch hitting, and [Ashton] Goddard held on for us on the mound getting a double play ball with bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh."

Laguna again faced Godinez Thursday. The score wasn't available at press time.

The Breakers finish OCL play and their regular season next week with two games against Costa Mesa. They'll travel for a 3:15 p.m. game Tuesday, then play host to the Mustangs at 3:15 p.m. Thursday.


The Breakers had a three-game Orange Coast League winning streak come to an end Tuesday in a 6-3 loss at Estancia.

The setback put Laguna at 3-4 in league play and 5-17 overall.

"The girls played hard but, unfortunately, lost the game due to two errors," Laguna Coach Nicole LeMotte said.

The Breakers had their offense in high gear in their two meetings last week with Saddleback.

In the first game April 30, Laguna ran away with a 13-1 victory. The Breakers came back May 1 to pin a 10-1 defeat on the Roadrunners.

LaMotte said Laguna Beach High Principal Joanne Culverhouse threw out the first pitch at the May 1 game at Thurston Middle School.

Halle Redfearn pitched all three games for Laguna.

"These [two] wins have gave the girls the boost of confidence they needed," LeMotte said.

The Breakers took on league-leading Calvary Chapel Thursday. The score wasn't available at press time.

Laguna completes its league and regular seasons next week. The Breakers play host to Godinez at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Thurston Middle School, and end the season with a 3:15 p.m. road game Thursday at Costa Mesa.

CIF Weekly Rankings

Baseball: Laguna Beach (No. 7, Division 4).

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