LAGUNA BEACH — Costa Mesa High stomped into Laguna Beach's visiting dugout with the opportunity to either win the Orange Coast League title or earn a co-championship with Estancia.
However, the Mustangs returned to the bus to Costa Mesa with neither.
The Breakers put together a huge second inning by scoring five runs on just three base hits and added another in the sixth with a pinch-hit home run to win, 6-0, spoiling Costa Mesa's bid to repeat as league champ.
Going into Thursday, the Mustangs (12-13, 8-4 in league) and Estancia were tied for first in the OCL.
With Estancia squeaking out a 1-0 win over Calvary Chapel, the Mustangs were left in second place and the prospect of a lower seed for the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs after Thursday's loss to the Breakers (15-13, 6-6).
"It's, you know, disappointing to come into this situation and not get the outcome that you wanted," Costa Mesa Coach Jim Kiefer said. "We clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday and we could do no worse than second place. We still had a good season and a lot of positive things happened. I don't think we have anything to hang our heads about today."
Costa Mesa will find out Monday its first-round foe in the playoffs when the pairings are released. The Mustangs lost in the first round of the postseason last year to Palm Springs after winning the league championship.
In the playoffs, the Mustangs will need more offensive production than what was displayed Thursday.
Laguna Beach pitcher Chris Paul quieted the Costa Mesa bats, as he was in a dominant mode. Paul gave up four hits in his complete-game shutout, that included eight strikeouts and no walks.
"I tip my cap to Chris Paul," Kiefer said. "He pitched an excellent game. He got a lead and he challenged us and that happens in baseball. [But] we have been pretty good about bouncing back from these types of situations all year and I am not concerned at all that they will be able to bounce back next week."
A key to the team bouncing back will be its most potent offensive weapon, Ryan Boulger. He continued his impressive season by doubling to right field in the second inning but was unable to put together any other hits thereafter.
Boulger's double actually led to the only scoring opportunity for the Mustangs. After moving to third base on a fielder's choice groundball, Tyler Sheffner hit a pop fly to center and Boulger made an attempt for the plate.
Laguna Beach's Mike Maxsenti made a better attempt. Maxsenti made a perfect throw and halted Costa Mesa's only shot at getting on the scoreboard.
Jesse Fox, Nathan Alvis and Brandon Kelly each reached base on a hit.
Brian Waldron was a standout in relief going two innings and not allowing a hit or a run while striking out one.
Orange Coast League Laguna Beach 6, Costa Mesa 0 SCORE BY INNINGS
Mesa0000000 — 043Laguna
050001X — 640Kelly, Waldron (3), Hirsch (5) and Hirsch, Maloney (5); Paul and Friedenrich. W – Paul, 4-2. L – Kelly, 3-3. 2B – Boulger (CM). HR – Iannotti (LB).