Benji Medure said his Huntington Beach High baseball team wanted to do something different for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
The Oilers did and for them, orange was the new black.
Donning all-orange uniforms designed by their head coach, the fifth-ranked Oilers made the most of their new appearance by overwhelming Corona Santiago during the fourth and fifth innings en route to a 10-1 Division 1 first-round victory before a large crowd at Huntington.
Good thing the Oilers won, too — for Medure’s sake.
“We just got them (uniforms) today,” Medure said. “Good thing we won, too, because I’d have to burn them if we lost. I’m so superstitious.
“The kids wanted these [uniforms], but the parents don’t like them. This is a good group of kids, and they really liked their new look.”
Although wearing a new wardrobe, what wasn’t new for co-Sunset League champion Huntington, was winning. Friday’s nine-run triumph increased the Oilers’ win streak to seven games, and it sent them on to a second-round game Tuesday against Foothill.
The Oilers (22-4) are moving on because they scored their 10 runs over the fourth and fifth innings to wipe out a 1-0 deficit.
They were held hitless by Santiago starter Christian Capuano through the first three innings.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Medure said. “They looked messy at the beginning, and I don’t know if it was because of the big crowd we had here, or what, but our bats finally came around in the fourth innings. We got a couple of breaks here and there, started to hit the ball, and started to roll.”
Huntington sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth. The rally started when Daniel Amaral hit a lead-off, sharp grounder down the third base line past Santiago third baseman Tony Zuniga. The Oilers went on to load the bases before Clint Jack put the Oilers in front for good when his single up the middle brought in two runs for a 2-1 lead.
With one out, Cooper Moore singled up the gap between third and shortstop to score Jake Brodt. Dillon Millar then sent a hard, one-hop grounder off the tip of the glove of a leaping Zuniga at third and into left field scoring Jack on the play.
Huntington again loaded the bases and drove Capuano from the mound. He was replaced by Graham Kuck who walked the first batter he faced, Marcus Mayorga, to bring in Huntington’s fifth run. Amaral’s sacrifice RBI fly to right field scored Millar from third to make it 6-1.
The Oilers scored their final four runs in the fifth, all the scoring done with two out. Moore picked up his second RBI with a single up the middle and Jesse Kuet, Huntington’s lead-off hitter, doubled up the gap in left-center field off new Santiago pitcher, Alex Fromm, to drive home two runs.
Huntington’s final run came when Jarrett Anton sent a 1-2 pitch off the fence in left field, scoring Kuet from second to increase the lead to 10-1.
Huntington sent 19 batters to the plate over the fourth and fifth innings.
Santiago (Big VIII League No. 2) scored its only run in the top of the first when lead-off hitter Trevor Millard drew a walk and later scored on a single by Zuniga.
Right-hander Noah Davis worked the first six innings for Huntington. The junior got off to a somewhat shaky start, but went on to limit the Sharks to just three hits. He walked four and struck out three in running his record to 11-1.
Senior Clay Morris threw the sixth.
The Oilers extended their season, and the new uniforms live on.
“So glad we won,” a relieved Medure said, again.
Foothill, champion of the Century League, defeated visiting Chaminade in a first-round game Friday, to earn a date Tuesday with Huntington.
In another Division 1 first-round game Friday, Sunset League co-champion and third-seeded Fountain Valley rolled to a 9-1 victory over visiting Lakewood. Willie Aguilar, Brock Lundquist and Dillon Persinger hit home runs and senior pitcher Scott Schultz improved to 14-0 for the Barons (20-7) who advanced to face Santa Margarita, which defeated Mission Viejo Friday, in a second-round game Tuesday.