LAGUNA BEACH — Three big innings will beat one big inning every time.
In Orange Coast League play, it’s the Laguna Beach High baseball team that has now come out on the short end of the numbers game twice now.
Visiting Costa Mesa scored three runs in the first inning, three in the second and six in the fifth Thursday afternoon. That was enough to earn a 12-4 victory.
Laguna Beach, which gave up 15 runs to Calvary Chapel last week, fell to 2-2 in league play. Defending league champion Costa Mesa is also 2-2.
The Breakers are trying to find a No. 2 pitcher to add depth behind senior staff ace Casey Miller, who is 4-0 and has a 0.85 ERA. The rest of the staff is a combined 4-5.
“It’s a big struggle,” Coach Jeff Sears said. “It’s a struggle for us to find someone who can back Casey. Casey’s got half our wins.”
The Breakers (8-5) did show signs of life Thursday, even after the Mustangs (6-5) batted around in each of the first two innings and pulled to a 6-0 lead.
Freshman Robbie McInerny led off the bottom of the third with a single, and he was doubled to third by junior leadoff hitter Chris Paul. Both players were singled home by Keaton Jones, and Miller then followed with his first home run of the season, a towering fly ball to center.
The lead was cut to 6-4, but two innings later the Mustangs put the game away by scoring six more runs. All six runs came with two outs, and many of them also came on two-strike hits.
“You’ve got to learn how to finish people off,” Sears said. “We haven’t done that yet.”
Costa Mesa junior P.J. Maloney earned the win for the Mustangs. Paul, who had pitched so well against Ramona last Saturday, took the loss.
Shane Selfridge doubled and Austin Paxson singled for Laguna, which was held hitless over the final four innings.
“[Laguna’s] a very good fastball hitting team,” Costa Mesa Coach Jim Kiefer said. “P.J.’s strengths are to throw his change-up, throw his curveball, and keep hitters off-balance. I thought he did a wonderful job of that, and defensively we did a great job in supporting him.”
The Breakers are in the Anaheim Lions Tournament beginning Saturday; they play their first game at 10 a.m. against Anaheim at Brookhurst Park.
For full schedules, visit www.anaheimlionsbaseball.org.