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Opening game jitters stifle Laguna Beach

Michael Sciacca

Things seemed stacked against the Laguna Beach Little League’s Majors

Division All-Star team in its District 55 All-Star Tournament of

Champions debut last Saturday.

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Facing a red-hot pitcher and giving up several unearned runs, Laguna

Beach couldn’t overcome opening game jitters and was saddled with a 7-1

loss.

The setback dropped the locals into a “second chance” bracket contest,

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which was played Wednesday night.

Laguna Beach was to meet traditional power Rancho Niguel in an

elimination game of the double-elimination tournament.

Things looked bright for Laguna Beach after taking a quick 1-0 lead in

the top of the first inning.

Nick Witte, who played for Rotary during the regular season, began the

game with a double to deep right field. He proceeded to use his speed on

the base paths to score on a passed ball.

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Unfortunately, after Witte’s hit, the Laguna Beach bats went all but

silent the rest of the game.

Viejo scored a pair of unearned runs in its first at-bat to take the

lead for good, 2-1.

The lead was padded by scoring runs in the second and third innings,

followed by a three-run fourth inning.

Down only 2-1, Austin Hyden began Laguna Beach’s second inning with a

sharp single to left field. Whatever rally they had up their sleeve was

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quickly smothered when Viejo turned a double play on Keegan Valaika’s

hard grounder up the middle of the infield.

Hyden’s single was the last hit Laguna Beach would muster until the

sixth inning when Christian Bosworth singled to right field to start the

frame.

Dalton Sype’s play at shortstop, Caine Fair’s efforts at second base

and Hyden’s fielding at third, paced Laguna Beach on defense.

Kevin Buck started on the mound for Laguna Beach and pitched better

than the final score would indicate, but defensive errors allowed Viejo

to score several unearned runs.

Michael Tachovsky pitched a scoreless, 1 1/3 innings of relief for

Laguna Beach.


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