Ethan Gragnano came up with the two biggest hits of his varsity baseball career, sparking Irvine to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory in eight innings over Corona del Mar in a Sea View League playoff game Saturday at Tustin High.
Gragnano, the Vaqueros’ No. 9 batter, hit a two-out single in the top of the eighth inning to score Eric Sonnenberg. Two innings earlier, Gragnano capped a four-run Vaquero rally with a two-out bloop single that scored Geoff Noisy and tied the score, 5-5, forcing extra innings.
Irvine, which reached the Southern Section Division III finals the last two years, looked as though it would miss the playoffs this year after Corona del Mar took a 5-1 lead after three innings. Sea King shortstop Jeff Bowman had two hits and three runs batted in, and left-fielder Myles Davis had three hits and two runs scored.
But Irvine reliever Matt Ward, who replaced starter Eric Sobek in the third inning, shut out the Sea Kings for four innings, giving up three hits.