Estancia baseball splits league doubleheader against Calvary Chapel
Nobody is sleeping on the Estancia High baseball team this year — and the Eagles don’t see that as a bad thing.
Teams want to beat Estancia. That’s what happens when you’re coming off winning your first CIF Southern Section and CIF State Southern California Regional titles in program history.
“I think everyone looking to beat us is a better feeling for us,” junior Miles Moyer said. “It puts us more on our ‘A’ game, and really makes us work harder to stay that team that we were last year.”
Estancia hasn’t let down yet, though it did suffer its first Orange Coast League loss on Friday afternoon against Calvary Chapel.
After rain this week forced a doubleheader at Estancia on Friday, the two teams that share the Eagles mascot each got a win. Estancia dominated the first game 8-3 before suffering a 2-1 loss in the nightcap.
Estancia (10-2 overall) is the top-ranked team in Division 5, while Calvary Chapel (8-2) sits not far behind at No. 4.
Both teams are now 3-1 in league. One thing Estancia didn’t do last year was win the league title, and that is firmly in its sights.
“We lost some key seniors, but we had a lot of guys return from last year,” Estancia coach Nate Goellrich said. “They have stepped up to the expectation very well this year. You never know, coming off the success we had last year, the ego or the complacency that can just set in. That’s normal, especially for a high school kid, [but] our guys did a great job right from the beginning of the year just adapting to the realization that everybody has us circled.”
Moyer, a left-handed pitcher, was an out away from the shutout in the first game, though he did pitch the complete game.
He improved to 5-0 this season, allowing three runs — none earned — on six hits, walking three Calvary Chapel players and striking out four.
Steel Hoham hit a bases-clearing double with two outs in the seventh for Calvary, accounting for its three runs. But Moyer, who threw 99 pitches, responded by inducing a ground out to shortstop for the final out.
He has stepped up as an effective starter this season following the graduation of Trevor Scott.
“He did a great job all game keeping them off-balance,” Goellrich said. “That’s the way he is. He never really throws the same pitch twice, even if we call the same pitch, with the movement he’s got. You’re hoping to get a lot of innings out of your starter in game one [of a doubleheader] to set you up, and I thought he did a great job.”
Moyer also helped himself at the plate, finishing three for three with a pair of RBIs. Junior leadoff hitter Cole Lefebvre was two for four with two runs scored and two RBIs. Senior James De La O, who set the program single-season record for RBIs last season, had a hit and also drove in a pair of runs.
Calvary Chapel, the designated home team for game two of the doubleheader, scored twice in the bottom of the second inning against Estancia starter Andrew Mits (4-2). Viliamu Nakamoto scored on a passed ball, and Jadon Linnell added a run on a balk.
Calvary Chapel sophomore left-hander Brayden Johnson earned the win, tossing six shutout innings.
Estancia rallied in the seventh, as Jake Humphries smacked a leadoff double and was brought home on a two-out single by John Uchytil. But Calvary Chapel closer Jordan Jimenez got out of the jam.
“We’d love to have gotten the sweep,” Goellrich said. “But to come away 1-1 on a doubleheader against a great team like this, we’ll take it.”
Estancia returns to action next week with a home league game against Santa Ana on Tuesday, though rain is again in the forecast.
The Battle for the Bell series against crosstown rival Costa Mesa will be played March 28 at Costa Mesa High, and March 30 at Angel Stadium. The Mustangs are also off to a strong start this season, with a 2-0 league record and a No. 2 ranking in Division 6.
Whatever happens, Estancia believes it has the talent and mindset for another big season.
“We’re proving that last year wasn’t a fluke, and that this program is just really strong,” Uchytil said. “We’re deep. I’m feeling really good about this year … We’ve just got to take it one game at a time and play our game.”
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