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Laguna records rare playoff win

Coach Jeff Sears said it had been “forever and a day."

Well, whatever the time frame, it certainly was a first for Sears.

And, only a “second" for the Laguna Beach High baseball program.

Tuesday in Chino, the Laguna Beach coach watched his team play the way it was capable of performing.

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And the result? Well, it yielded a rare victory.

The Breakers took on host Don Lugo in a CIF Southern Section Division IV wild-card game where both teams entered the playoffs as at-large entries. What impressed Sears most was the way his team battled, coming back from a 4-1 deficit to win going away, 11-6.

It was indeed rare air that the Breakers breathed late Tuesday: the program hadn’t won a CIF playoff game since 2000, nearly 10 years to the date. It was on May 12 of that year that Laguna defeated Capistrano Valley, 4-0.

That win also set a precedent, as it was the first baseball playoff victory in school history.

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Laguna, which is in postseason play for just the sixth time, is now 2-5 overall in the playoffs, Athletic Director Mike Churchill said Wednesday.

“It’s just a big win for our program," said Sears, whose Breakers (16-13) advance to play a first-round game at 3:15 p.m. today at No. 2-seed Palm Desert.

“I think the kids finally decided they wanted to play as a team," he continued. “Everyone contributed to this win. Everyone was a part of it. That was fun to watch."

The Breakers were in a 4-1 hole but slowly chipped away at that deficit by “battling back nicely," Sears said. A big boost to the comeback came from Eric Peruzzi, who, with bases loaded, provided a bases-clearing triple that gave Laguna the lead.

The blast highlighted an eight-run fifth-inning for the Breakers, who took the lead for good at 9-4.

Don Lugo cut the lead to 9-5 by scoring once in the bottom of the fifth, but Peruzzi struck again in the sixth, this time with a two-home run that pushed the lead to 11-5.

Peruzzi, a transfer from JSerra, finished with five runs batted in.

The Breakers roped four pitchers for 15 hits. Junior Chris Paul doubled during the onslaught.

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Senior Casey Miller got the win on the mound, improving and improved to 6-3. Junior Keaton Jones pitched in the sixth and Paul finished in the seventh.

“We swung the bat pretty good today," Sears said. “We really came up with some big hits. Peruzzi’s triple and home run were huge."

Sears said that Paul will get the start today at Palm Desert.



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