The final week of the Sunset League baseball race sure made things interesting.
Prior to the closing day of league play on May 9, Fountain Valley High already had won the Sunset League baseball championship. The Barons finished league play with a 12-3 record, one game ahead of fast-charging Marina which took second place with an 11-4 record. In a battle for CIF playoff consideration, Huntington Beach defeated Edison to finish fourth in league.
The Barons had a three-game lead in the Sunset standings going into the final week.
On Monday, Fountain Valley, Marina and Huntington each received postseason berths.
Marina twice defeated then-second-ranked Fountain Valley (23-4) within a 24-hour period to end the regular season. The Vikings (18-8) followed an 8-5 victory on May 8, with an 8-3 home win on senior day on May 9. The two wins increased the Vikings' win streak to five games and gave them the league series with the Barons, 2-1.
Fountain Valley won the first meeting between the teams, 3-2, on March 28 at Marina.
An RBI single by junior Landon Marshall followed by an RBI double by senior Grant Mayeaux, helped Marina grab a 3-0 lead after one inning. The Vikings continued their assault in their next at-bat by scoring three more runs to increase their lead. Senior Jake Arledge doubled to the fence in right field which brought home two runs, and he went on to score on a double by junior Austin Sojka.
Senior Jake Bauers hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the third to run the lead to 7-0. It was the last run Marina would score until the bottom of the sixth, when Bauers homered to right field that made it 8-3.
Fountain Valley had cut the deficit to 7-2 in the top of the fourth when Brock Lundquist absolutely annihilated a 1-0 pitch for a two-run home run. The junior's blast traveled roughly 410 feet, well beyond the fence in right field where the ball landed in the middle of an industrial complex.
The Barons scored their final run in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly RBI by junior John Shattles.
"Knowing that the [league] title had already been decided, we were playing these two games as though they were playoff games," Marina Coach Bob Marshall said. "Our guys really came through. We were hitting and running, and running and hitting. Our hitting is really starting to come through and we are peaking at the right time."
Starter Jackson Westermeyer got the win for the Vikings. He threw the first five innings and improved to 8-1.
Marina scored three runs in the top of the seventh to break a tie score on May 8 at Fountain Valley to come away with its 8-5 win. Senior Casey Hayes went three for four with a double and home run, senior Tyler Mildenberg went two for four with two RBIs, Bauers singled with two RBIs, and Sojka doubled with an RBI.
Steven Gingery, in relief of starter Austin Olivas, got the win. The left-handed sophomore threw the final two innings, allowed a run and two hits, and improved to 3-2.
Shattles, juniors Justin Brand and Daniel Patzlaff, and senior Jacob Peralta each had two his for Fountain Valley.
In another Sunset finale on May 9, Huntington Beach went to Edison and scored a 5-0 win over the Chargers. Freshman Logan Pouelsen and juniors Jesse Kuet and Dillon Millar led the Oilers offense with two hits apiece, and junior Andrew Arledge threw a six-inning shutout to get the win.
Huntington finished league play at 6-9 to take fourth place.
Edison closed out a 5-10 league season and finished fifth. The Chargers were 11-15 overall.
Ocean View's season came to a close May 9. The Seahawks ended their Golden West League schedule with an 8-0 loss to league champion Loara.
Jared Goodman went two for four for the Seahawks who finished 6-9 in league, and 8-18 overall.
"This was a rough year, no question," Ocean View Coach Shane Borowski said. "I'm proud of our kids for staying positive and battling through all the injuries and roster changes.
"It's not a typical Ocean View baseball season. We're not used to this, I'm not used to this. Our kids, the coaching staff, and myself will have to commit to a higher quality of play to get back to where we need to be. I'm looking forward to getting after it this summer."
Marina earned an outright Sunset League championship May 9 when the Vikings blanked visiting Fountain Valley, 3-0, in the league and regular-season finale for both teams.
Junior Tera Blanco (24-3) limited the Barons to only three hits and also hit a solo home run. Senior Sydnee Cable had a hit and RBI and senior Samantha Agamaite had two hits for the Vikings.
Marina closed out a 9-1 league campaign and won the Sunset title for the first time since 2010. The Vikings, who are 24-3 overall, start the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs Thursday.
Edison also was playoff bound after completing an 8-2 Sunset season capped by a 2-1 win on May 9 over visiting Huntington Beach. Senior Sammy Cordova got the pitching win.
Huntington had a tough road to close out the regular season, playing three games over a three-day period. The schedule began with an 8-6 win on May 8 over Los Alamitos. The Oilers then lost, 2-1, at Edison on May 9 and last Friday, again faced Los Alamitos in a league playoff game to determine the Sunset's No. 3 representative to the CIF Southern Section playoffs. The Oilers held a 6-2 lead in that game, but lost, 8-6.
In the May 8 win over Los Alamitos, sophomore Maria Steadman hit a momentum-swinging home run and senior Raegan Zschach had a two-run single that put the Huntington ahead for good. Junior Micaela Vierra went the distance for the win.
The Oilers had 15 hits in the game and Coach Jeff Forsberg said it was the program's first win over the Griffins in 10 years.
In Friday's 8-6 loss to Los Alamitos, Steadman and junior Sammie Vandiver each had three hits, senior Jillian Martinez had two hits which included her first home run of the season, and freshman Kristina Inouye had three hits.
The Oilers finished 5-5 in league and tired Los Alamitos for third-place. Both teams advanced to the Division 1 playoffs.
Ocean View finished in third place (7-3) in the Golden West League and secured an automatic bid to the Division 4 playoffs. The Seahawks concluded their league and regular season on May 9 and routed visiting Orange, 20-0. Sophomore Billi Derleth had four hits, sophomore Olivia Russ had three hits and seniors Brittany Hitchcock and Cassie Baughman, and junior Tobi Salzman, all had two hits. Hitchcock threw a one-hitter and struck out 10 in five innings.