NEWPORT ELKS BASEBALL TOURNAMENT : Esperanza Wins Title, Stakes Claim to No. 1

Esperanza has baseball bragging rights among Orange County high schools--for now, at least.

Esperanza's 7-4 victory over Capistrano Valley at Tustin High School on Saturday gave the Aztecs more than just the championship of the Newport Elks Tournament.

It also should make Esperanza (4-0) the No. 1-ranked team in Orange County; Capistrano Valley (3-1) beat the current top-ranked team, Tustin, on Thursday.

It was also Esperanza's first baseball tournament title since the Glendora Tournament in 1987.

"We've gotten off to a really good start," Esperanza Coach Mike Curran said. "We've been a little lucky--but, hey, we'll take it."

Esperanza's lucky streak continued in the first inning, when the Aztecs scored five runs on two hits--aided by three errors, three walks and a hit batsman.

Right-hander Joe Foss (1-0), making his first start since the basketball playoffs, struck out five for the victory. Left-hander Todd Henneger relieved Foss and set up Jeff Bowman's second save.

"Joe pitched well--he kept the ball down and didn't let them hit it real hard off him," Curran said. "He still doesn't have as must zip on his fastball just yet, but he moved the ball in and out real well."

Foss' only rough inning was the third, when he gave up three runs on five singles. But he struck out Scott Newell on a low slider to end the threat.

Leadoff man Erickson Dumaual and center fielder Reid Pullen each had two runs batted in for Esperanza. Aztec first baseman Brian Harman went three for four and scored twice.

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