BREAKERS ROUNDUP: Slow start proves costly for Breakers

Six runs given up in the first inning hurt the Laguna Beach High baseball team Tuesday.

Six errors didn’t help matters either for the Breakers, who fell to Calvary Chapel, 11-8, in an Orange Coast League game at Orange Coast College. And Coach Jeff Sears was clearly not happy.

“We didn’t come ready to play, and we haven’t all year on the road,” Sears said. “We’re now 1-5 on the road. We just do not know how to play on the road. Our kids don’t prepare very well. They joke around on the bus and it’s like it’s a joy ride. It’s not a joy ride; you’re supposed to prepare during that time and we don’t do it. It’s my fault for not preparing them the right way, and I’ll take total blame.

“Once they start believing in our program, things will start changing like they were earlier [in the season]. They started reading their press clippings instead of playing the game of baseball.”


Laguna Beach (7-6, 3-2), which was tied for first place just over a week ago, fell into a second-place tie with the Eagles (9-4, 3-2). The teams played again Thursday after press time.

The Breakers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when senior Dillon Pierce tripled and was singled home by senior Gabe Stansbury. But the first six Eagles to come to the plate all scored.

Laguna pulled within 7-3 in the fourth inning on senior Jake Sganga’s two-RBI triple to center, then to 8-4 in the fifth on Mike Maxsenti’s RBI single. They even got a rare triple play in the fifth when sophomore pitcher Austin Paxson dove to catch the ball and flipped it to third baseman Sganga to double off one runner, then Sganga threw to first baseman Casey Miller to complete the play.

But errors continued to plague the Breakers. A pop-up in front of the plate dropped in the sixth, leading to a three-run inning as the Eagles put the game out of reach.


In earlier action, the Breakers lost a first-place showdown against Costa Mesa, 9-1, on April 2.

Laguna Beach plays in the Anaheim Lions tournament beginning 10 a.m. Saturday against Valley Christian at Brookhurst Park in Anaheim. The Breakers play later on that day at 4:30 p.m. against Loara, then at 10 a.m. Monday against Chaminade at Glover Stadium, also in Anaheim.


The Breakers continue to grow stronger after topping Foothill, 16-2, in a nonleague match Tuesday.

This came after Laguna eased to wins in Orange Coast League matches against Costa Mesa on April 1 (18-0), as well as Estancia on April 2 (17-1).

In four league matches, defending-champion Laguna Beach has dropped just five of 72 sets played.

“It’s not there’s not competition,” Coach Aaron Talarico said. “It’s just that our team’s a little better. We’re doing better than last year, and we won league last year. All my top guys are one year older, so it helps.”


Laguna Beach (6-6) is ranked No. 6 in the CIF Southern Section Division IV coaches’ poll.

Talarico said he thought the Foothill match might be a litmus test for his team. Instead, the Breakers won easily as singles regulars Jake Michaels, Chris Lavery and Benito Romeo, as well as subs Val Biscarrat and Cameron Cornell, combined to win eight of nine sets.

In doubles, Rex Miller and Mikey Rubel won two sets and subs Aaron Fong and Alex Gromet won the third. Hutton McKenna and Chris O’Connor swept at No. 2 doubles with 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 scores, and Paul Salomon and Hunter Moskow also won a pair of matches.

Laguna Beach then prepared for a big match against St. Margaret’s, which occurred Thursday after deadline. Check for full coverage.


The Breakers boys topped Sage Hill, 106-53, in a nonleague meet April 3. Laguna Beach girls won by default as the Lightning aren’t fielding a girls’ team this year.

Senior Preston Head won the 200-yard freestyle in a Division III automatic time of 1 minute, 51.11 seconds, and his winning time of 5:12.64 in the 500 free is also an auto time.


Freshman Billy Wild won the 200 IM (2:09.20) and 100 fly (57.01 seconds) in a pair of consideration times. Sophomore Nile Koegel was another two-event winner, in the 50 free and 100 free, while junior Casey Chen captured the 100 back.

On the girls’ side, senior Chelsea Wild won the 100 breast (1:17.81, a consideration time) and the 500 free (5:07.35, an automatic time). Senior Annika Dries captured the 100 free (55.50) and 200 free (1:57.93), the latter time an automatic time.

Sophomore Jessie Holechek won the 200 IM and 100 back, the latter event time of 1:08.23 being a consideration time. Freshman Yoshi Andersen won the 100 fly in a consideration time of 1:06.92, while senior Taylor Dodson captured the 50 free.


Laguna Beach took several of its top athletes to the Trabuco Hills Invitational that concluded Saturday, and came up with some big performances. Junior Blake Hoffmeister finished third in the boys’ open 1,600 meters, in a time of 4 minutes, 28.62 seconds.

“That was an exceptional mile,” Coach Scott Wittkop said.

Sophomore Matt Neev finished with a 9:40.09 in the boys’ open 3,200 meters, good for fourth place.

The top varsity girls finishers for Laguna were in the 3,200 meters, where freshman Natasha Strickland took 18th in 12:04.55 and junior McKenna Nokes was 21st in 12:11.59.

Wittkop said Neev will also compete at the Arcadia Invitational this weekend, the lone Breaker to do so.