The Miller family dog, Nikki, ran into the Calvary Chapel dugout Tuesday, threatening to get on the field before someone could get over there to put on its leash.
Laguna Beach High junior Casey Miller could only smile.
“It’s like the third game in a row she’s done that,” Miller said. “It’s pretty bad. I’m going to have to talk to my parents about that.”
But Miller’s smile could be even wider after he pitched the Breakers past the Eagles, 9-2, in a key Orange Coast League game at Skipper Carrillo Field.
The Eagles are the defending league champions, but Miller, who improved to 2-1, did his part to keep them at bay. He threw a complete game, giving up just five hits. He struck out three and walked none. At one point, he retired 12 of 13 batters, until Calvary Chapel’s Chad Wallach led off the seventh with a home run.
“Casey was phenomenal,” Laguna Beach Coach Jeff Sears said. “He had command of all three pitches, and he put the ball pretty much where he wanted. The only time he gets himself in trouble is when he tries to do too much. We play very good defense, so he’s realized that he can get outs early in the count by throwing good pitches.”
But the Breakers (4-3, 2-0 in league) also had big production from three sophomores, or “puppy dogs” as Sears called them.
Sophomore left fielder Austin Paxson was three for three with two runs scored and one batted in. Sophomore second baseman Keaton Jones was two for two with a double and an RBI, and sophomore shortstop Chris Paul was two for three with a home run, a double and four RBIs.
The two-run home run in the fifth inning, which scored senior Gabe Stansbury and pushed the Breakers lead to 5-1, was impressive. Facing an 0-2 count, Paul fouled off several pitches before connecting over the center-field fence for the Breakers’ first long-ball of the season.
“I just battled,” Paul said. “Everybody stepped up today and hit the ball hard ... It’s a great win, a great way to start off our season. We hope to keep doing this, keep winning.”
Senior right fielder Andrew Paddon, celebrating his birthday, went one for two with a run scored and an RBI, while senior center fielder Dillon Pierce was two for three with a double and an RBI.
Miller went one for three and is batting a team-best .550 this season (11 for 20).
Junior shortstop Ryan McDaniel was two for three with a double for Calvary Chapel (6-3, 0-1).
Laguna Beach plays host to Gladstone (Ore.) on Thursday at 3 p.m., then is at Ramona of Riverside for a doubleheader on Saturday.