Edison baseball holds on to beat Huntington Beach
Edison High School baseball coach Cameron Chinn had his first opportunity to see his team battle their former teammate Caden Aoki Wednesday when the Chargers visited Huntington Beach for a nonleague contest.
Aoki transferred from Edison before the pandemic prematurely ended the 2020 season and never played against his former school until this season.
Chinn and his team came out swinging but didn’t need any extra motivation on their way to a 9-7 win over Aoki and the Oilers.
“We’re not playing against any individuals, we’re playing against the team,” Chinn said. “They’re the team that’s down the street. They’re the team that our guys were growing up playing with in youth league. Whenever you’re playing your local rival, there’s a little extra energy.”
Jack Ross, the starting pitcher for Edison (3-2), scattered five hits over four innings, allowing three runs. He walked two and struck out seven in the winning effort.
On offense, Luke Serven and Zack Marker stood out. Serven had two hits with a double and three runs batted in, while Marker hit a double and drove in two runs.
Huntington Beach (3-2), which went down early but chipped away in the later innings, couldn’t quite climb out of the early deficit.
Aiden Espinoza and Aoki both made an impact for Huntington Beach, hitting back-to-back solo home runs. Espinoza also singled in the game.
“It was fun,” Aoki said. “Those are my best friends over there. They competed today and it was a good win for them, but I’ll be on the mound Saturday and I’ll be ready to go.”
The trouble started early for Huntington Beach starter Jack Smith, who lasted 1 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on six hits and a walk while striking out two.
Edison’s Logan Hamrick led off with a double up the right-field line before Cade Liefer drove him in with a first-pitch double to center.
Then Brandon Winokur pushed Liefer to second on a bunt up the first-base line and evaded the tag for a single. Serven followed with a sharp single past the shortstop to drive in Liefer for a 2-0 Edison lead.
After Serven and Winokur moved up on a ball in the dirt, Marker drove in Winokur on a sacrifice-fly to center for a 3-0 Edison lead.
Aoki scored on a Ralph Velasquez sacrifice-fly in the bottom of the first inning, but Edison added to its lead in the second on runs batted in from Dylan Richardson, Marker, Hamrick and two by Serven. That pushed the Edison lead to 8-1.
The Oilers’ bats woke up in the third on back-to-back home runs by Espinoza and Aoki that cut the Edison lead to 8-3.
The Oilers continued to chip away in the fifth inning with RBIs from Mark Muranaka, Nick Dumesnil and Shane Stafford. Muranaka would come home on an Edison balk, making it 8-7.
Edison would extend its lead late with a two-out, seventh-inning solo home run to center from Evan Knipe for a 9-7 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, with Cade Hart at second after a double, Stafford hit a soft ground ball to third.
Richardson’s throw at third base pulled Knipe off of first, but Knipe found Richardson again, catching Hart in his attempt to take third base. On a bang-bang play, the umpire ruled in Edison’s favor, calling out Hart and ending the game.
Oilers coach Benji Medure argued his case but ultimately put the responsibility on his team for the play.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” Medure said. “We should’ve been running right after the throw, so we shouldn’t have had to put the umpire in the position to make that call. It was a bang-bang call, and that’s what he called. It’s a tough way to end the game, but that’s all I’ll say.”
Support our sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.
All the latest on Orange County from Orange County.
Get our free TimesOC newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Daily Pilot.