Struggling a bit in the Sunset League, the Fountain Valley High baseball team has found Spring Break much more enjoyable on the baseball field.
The Barons advanced to the championship game of the Beach Pit Classic tournament, holding off host Corona del Mar, 9-8, in the semifinals Tuesday.
Fountain Valley (7-7) played Newport Harbor (6-8) in the title game Wednesday, after press time. Look for a story on the game online at www.hbindependent.com.
“It’s a great tournament,” Barons Coach Joe MacDonald said. “We’re happy they took us. We’ve struggled in the Sunset League [a 1-4 record], but day-in, day-out, we face quality teams. That prepares us for everything.”
It might have helped Fountain Valley on Tuesday. The Barons fell behind, 5-2, after five innings against Corona del Mar, which had won six straight. But they didn’t quit.
Danny Jimenez hit his third home run of the tournament, then Fountain Valley tied the game on an error, one of eight committed by the Sea Kings in the game.
It stayed that way until the eighth. Ryan Manzon reached on another error, then after a sacrifice from A.J. Cardenalli, Kevin Osaki roped an RBI double to give the Barons a 6-5 lead.
Jimenez walked, Brenton McCarthy singled and CdM then committed another error. RBI singles by Eddie Alvarez and John Goldsby followed, and suddenly it was 9-5, Barons.
Corona del Mar scored three times in the bottom of the eighth, but Jimenez escaped and earned the win.
“The big thing is that our kids showed a lot of character,” MacDonald said. “We were down 5-2 in the fourth inning. It was intense. Both teams were battling and we got lucky. To get out of [the eighth-inning jam] was key for us.”
McCarthy and Alvarez each had three hits for Fountain Valley, with Alvarez and Osaki each tallying a pair of RBIs.
In earlier tournament action, Fountain Valley got by Santa Ana, 8-2, in the opener on Saturday behind a pair of home runs from Jimenez. The Barons then topped Laguna Hills, 12-2, on Monday, as Osaki got the win and had a home run himself.