Opening day of the Sunset League baseball race Friday figured to be full of high quality matchups, and Day 1 did not disappoint.
Defending league champion Fountain Valley and Edison went on the road for their openers, and both picked up impressive victories, the Chargers, at the expense of Marina. Huntington Beach, meanwhile, was home for its opener, and also impressed.
•Huntington scored an 8-4 victory over visiting Newport Harbor. Senior Dillon Millar went three for three and gave the Oilers the lead for good when he scored on senior Clint Jack's single in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Logan Pouelsen had two hits, an RBI double in the fourth followed by a three-run home run in the fifth.
The Oilers got nine hits and eight runs off Newport Harbor ace and Cal State Fullerton-bound Connor Seabold (2-1), who suffered his first loss.
Senior Noah Davis (UC Santa Barbara signee) threw five innings, struck out three and didn't allow an earned run to get the win, his third of the season.
Huntington, ranked sixth in CIF Southern Section Division 1, improved to 5-2 overall.
Newport Harbor slipped to 6-2.
""I wish that I could bottle up our hitting approach that we had against Seabold," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said. "He was tough. He throws hard with a good breaking ball.
"Our guys stayed patient and looked to drive the ball back up the middle. Sounds so simple but tough to do. I loved the way they believed in our approach."
•Edison found itself in an early, 2-0 hole at Marina Friday, came back to score the game's next six runs, and came away with a 6-4 victory over the Vikings. A two-run triple by senior Philip Knapp tied the score, and a fielder's choice RBI grounder by senior Brian Schales brought in the go-ahead run.
Junior Michael Mahony went two for three with a double and RBI and senior Adam Moses singled with an RBI for the Chargers.
"Mike Mahony hadn't been starting recently, but he has worked really hard and earned a start," Edison Coach Cameron Chinn said. "He took advantage of his situation, and he had a big day."
Junior right-hander Noah Kronfly threw five innings to get the win and improve to 2-0. Junior Nate Madden threw the sixth and sophomore Kaz Akamatsu the seventh and got his first save.
"This game showed our poise," Chinn said. "In the top of the first, we put our first two batters on base, but couldn't finish. [Marina] came back to score two runs, but we responded right away and took the lead. Our game plan was to put the ball in play.
"We had talked earlier about maintaining our poise, and I thought our guys did just that. I really thought Noah [Kronfly] exemplified that poise after falling behind."
Marina lead-off hitter, senior Austin Sojka, got the first of his two hits on a double to the fence in right-center field in the bottom of the first, and scored when junior KJ Spiratos ripped a two-out single. Spiratos went on to score when junior Chase Sebby drove his first pitch into center field past a diving Knapp for a double.
Marina drew to within 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Sojka delivered a two-out, RBI single to right field to score junior Garrett Malter. The Vikings loaded the bases, getting a double from Spiratos, in the bottom of the seventh. Malter hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score pinch runner Remington Balboa, to make it 6-4. Akamatsu then fielded a grounder back to the mound to start a game-ending double play.
Edison (9-3) won twice Saturday at its own Edison Tournament, defeating Compton Centennial, 3-2, and Laguna Hills, 14-6, to run its win streak to four games.
Junior Jake Scott had a double and RBI, senior Jason McLellan (1-0) earned his first win, and Mahony recorded his second save of the season in the one-run win against Centennial.
In a 14-6 rout of Laguna Hills, senior Dylan Sneed went four for four with two RBIs and Madden (2-0) threw three innings of shutout ball to get the win.
•Fountain Valley took on Los Alamitos and bested the host Griffins Friday, 7-4. Senior Brock Lundquist drove in two runs, junior Willie Aguilar went two for four with two RBIs, senior Daniel Patzlaff two for two with three runs scored, and senior Daniel Rosica and junior JT Navarro both had two hits for the Barons (5-3).
Senior Scott Schultz threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed only one earned run and registered his fourth win of the season.
"A big win for us to open league with a win at Los Al versus one of the best pitchers [Jacob Nix] in the county," Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said. "We haven't played that well in a long time. It was good to see us step up to the challenge and leave with a win. Los Al is a tough place to win and throw in a quality guy like Nix, those wins are hard to come by.
"You don't celebrate wins too long in this league because you turn around and play another quality opponent. [Fountain Valley pitching coach] Chris Sorce summed it up best about our league when he said, 'Round one is over, 14 more rounds to go.'"
•There is nothing but the Golden West League season to focus on the remainder of the regular season for Ocean View, which starts GWL play Thursday hosting Loara at 3:15 p.m. The Seahawks concluded nonleague play and turned up for league action by going 3-1 and finishing third among 10 teams last week at the Rancho Cucamonga Cougar Classic.
Ocean View started the tournament with wins against El Rancho (6-2) and Carter (2-1), fell to Upland (12-2), then wrapped up the tournament March 19 with a 4-3 win over Montclair. Junior Gabe Ledezma had an RBI single in the loss to Upland.
The Seahawks scored all four of their runs against Montclair in the opening inning and rode the fast start to a 4-3 win. Sophomore Brandon Nicholson hit a bases-loaded, two-out two-run single, and fellow sophomores Brian Schlosser and Ben Myers doubled and singled, respectively.
Another sophomore, Braydon Salzman, was impressive on the mound for Ocean View. He struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced, and threw the first three innings before an injury while at-bat, sent him from the game. Junior Michael Giacone finished the game and took the win, striking out four in squaring his record at 1-1.
The Seahawks now turn their attention to the Golden West League race.
"I am happy how we are pitching and playing defense, those are great," Ocean View Coach Shane Borowski said. "More so, I am very impressed at how such a young, inexperienced group of players, mostly sophomores, are handling the pressure of close games. They are not going to out-hit you, they are not going to slug home runs to beat you, but they hang in there and get the key hit or play when they need to.
"In our first 11 games, we have seven one-run games, and two two-run games. We are 6-1 in those one-run games. The kids do not falter or fold, they play and execute, and I'm very happy with how coachable they are. They are a lot of fun."
CIF Weekly Rankings
Baseball: Huntington Beach (No. 5, Division 1).