COSTA MESA — Steven Macias lost his glove in the second inning and then command of his pitches.
He struggled to recover in time after a comebacker to the mound ripped off his glove. Estancia Coach Nate Goellrich checked on his ace a couple of times during the second inning against Laguna Beach.
First, he went out to the mound to see if Macias was OK after the line drive. Richie Nunis hit the ball that hard that Macias couldn't hold onto his glove, let alone the ball.
"It kind of rattled him, even he'll admit it," Goellrich said of Macias. "He didn't have his best stuff today. His curveball just wasn't there and you need all three pitches when you're playing Laguna."
No team in the Orange Coast League has figured out how to pitch to the Breakers. The Eagles failed for the third time this year, losing at home to Laguna Beach, 9-0, on Friday.
The Breakers improved to 7-0 in league after they picked up their fifth shutout in league. They have only given up six runs in league, three to Estancia on Tuesday and three to Calvary Chapel three weeks ago.
At the halfway point of league, the Breakers, who are 17-2 overall and ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 poll, look unbeatable. They have two strong pitchers in Jackson Rees and Kurt Rebone.
Rees got his first shot at the Eagles, and the right-hander faced 16 batters in five innings, allowing just two hits and one baserunner to get into scoring position. Rees (7-0) could've gone the distance and recorded his second shutout of the season, but Coach Mike Bair said he wanted to get a couple relief pitchers some work in.
Grant Wilhelm and Cole Millerd each threw one inning and gave up one hit, helping Laguna Beach blank Estancia for the second time. During the three-game series against the Eagles, the Breakers outscored them, 24-3.
The Eagles dropped to 3-4 in league and into a third-place tie with Godinez. With eight league games left, they're not mathematically eliminated from winning league, but the Eagles didn't help their cause before going on spring break.
"We put ourselves [in a tough spot], losing three to Laguna," said Goellrich, adding that the ultimate goal is to make the playoffs.
"We got to come back and have the intensity that we had a week ago [when we went 3-1 during the Beach Pit Classic]. I thought this week that we were just a little flat. It's Laguna Beach, how could you be flat? But we were. Hopefully we'll learn from it and get after it Tuesday."
Next for Estancia, which is 10-7 overall, are league games against Costa Mesa on Tuesday and Wednesday. Goellrich isn't worried whether his team will be ready to play during spring break.
"We're playing the rival," said Goellrich, whose Eagles have beaten up on the Mustangs, winning the past eight matchups.
The teams Estancia has struggled beating this season are the league's top two teams, Laguna Beach and Calvary Chapel, which is 6-1 in league. Estancia's four losses have come against those two programs.
Estancia has six games until it closes out league play with two against Calvary Chapel next month. Those final games could affect who wins league, but Bair doesn't see Estancia in the picture.
"Now beating them three times, I think it's a race between us and Calvary," said Bair, whose Breakers knocked off Calvary Chapel, 6-3, in the first meeting.
Laguna Beach chased Macias (4-2) after it began the fifth inning with singles by Blake Hester and Steven Harrison. Macias lasted four innings in which he gave up five runs, nine hits, walked three and struck out one.
From the first inning on, the Breakers had baserunners on. Macias always seemed to pitch from the stretch.
"You do that three, four innings in a row, that's difficult," Bair said of Macias, who had to worry about baserunners. "We were able to constantly put pressure on the pitcher and the defense."
At one point, the Breakers even took away Macias' glove.
Orange Coast League
Laguna Beach 9, Estancia 0
SCORE BY INNINGS
Laguna 022 032 0 - 9 15 1
Estancia 000 000 0 - 0 4 2
Rees, Wilhelm (6), Millerd (7) and McInerny; Macias, Stillman (5), Reyes (6) and Letterman. W - Rees, 7-0. L – Macias (4-2). 2B – McInerny (LB), Wilhelm (LB).