The first two innings of Friday's Sunset League baseball game between Huntington Beach High and Fountain Valley had an eerily similar feel to it, much like the one the two teams had played two days ago.
In both cases, Fountain Valley jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Unlike Wednesday's wild contest, however, this time, the Barons never relinquished the lead.
Behind the standout pitching of Scott Schultz and timely hitting from its offense, Fountain Valley claimed a 6-0 shutout that put the defending champions alone in first place in the league standings. The Barons entered the week trailing the Oilers by a single game in the standings but by virtue of Friday's win, coupled with their 9-7 triumph Wednesday at Huntington, they now occupy the top spot.
"This was a huge week for us, and our guys played extremely well," Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said after his team improved to 15-6 overall and 8-1 in league. "Scott [Schultz] pitched a great game. He's been good for us all year. For him to go out there, and shut down a very good Huntington Beach team, was just amazing."
The Barons' senior ace limited Huntington (15-4, 7-2) to two hits in a complete-game effort. Schultz, now 9-0, struck out five and walked two, and sent the Oilers down in order in the final three innings.
"That kid's good," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said of Schultz, motioning toward the Fountain Valley dugout after the game. "He put the ball were he wanted to, and kept us off balance. He's the reason they beat us.
"We lost because they were better than us in all facets today. They hit, fielded and pitched better than we did. They deserved the win."
The Barons got to Huntington starter Noah Davis early and handed the junior his first defeat. Davis (7-1) worked one batter into the bottom of the fourth where he was replaced by junior Brian Rousseau who finished the game.
Davis allowed seven hits and five runs, walked four, hit a batter and had one strikeout.
"Fountain Valley's a good hitting team," Medure said. "Noah [Davis] was a little off today and they took advantage."
Lead-off hitter Daniel Patzlaff put the Barons in motion in the bottom of the first with a single into left field. An out later, Willie Aguilar singled to center to put runners at the corners. Clean-up hitter Brock Lundquist was hit by a pitch which loaded the bases, and Patzlaff scored when Dillon Persinger flew out to center. On the play, the throw to the plate went out of play, and Aguilar was allowed home which took the score to 2-0.
Junior Aguilar took his first pitch for a single up the middle to open the bottom of the second for Fountain Valley, and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Justin Brand. A walk was issued to No. 9 hitter, Daniel Rosica, which brought the top of the Barons' lineup back to the plate.
Patzlaff singled to center for the second time, and his RBI brought in Aguilar to make it 3-0. JT Navarro followed Patzlaff and on a hit-and-run, dropped a single into shallow left field scoring Rosica. With two out and runners at the corners, Lundquist single through the right side of the infield to bring in Patzlaff for a 5-0 lead.
The Barons combined four hits and a walk to produce their three runs and their second, 5-0 lead on the Oilers of the week.
In Wednesday's meeting between the teams, Fountain Valley took a 5-0 lead through 1 1/2 innings, fell behind 7-5, but rallied back to take a 9-7 win. There was no such comeback Friday for the Oilers who never got a base runner past second.
The Barons added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Aguilar singled to center with one out and scored on Persinger's two-out single to center.
The two wins during the week gave Fountain Valley the league series with Huntington, 2-1. The Oilers won the first meeting, 2-1, March 26.
Despite picking up two big wins this week and going into the league lead, Yanagisawa knows the road ahead in the rugged Sunset League won't be easy.
"It's great to get these two games, but there's a ton of games left to play," he said. "Nobody's won anything yet, and everybody still has a shot. We played two great games but we need to play six or eight more great games, to get to where we want to be. We have a tough series coming up next week with Newport Harbor."
Fountain Valley plays host to Newport Harbor at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, and the teams meet again at 3:15 p.m. Friday at Newport.
Huntington, which began the week ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division 1 and has dropped two straight after having won 15 in a row, will attempt to rebound when it travels for a 3:15 p.m. game Wednesday at Marina. The Oilers play host to the Vikings at 3:15 p.m. Friday.