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Estancia baseball hands Costa Mesa its first league loss, as Mustangs take Paul Troxel trophy

Estancia starting pitcher Andrew Mits throws in the first inning of Friday's game at Costa Mesa High.
Estancia starting pitcher Andrew Mits throws in the first inning of Friday’s game at Costa Mesa High.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
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The Estancia High baseball team badly needed a win on Friday, if the Eagles were to have any chance of repeating as Orange Coast League champions.

The Eagles turned to their ace, senior right-handed pitcher Andrew Mits.

Mits delivered as Estancia gained some ground on rival Costa Mesa, though the Mustangs ended up with the Paul Troxel trophy.

Estancia earned an 8-0 victory at Costa Mesa High, moving within a game of first-place Costa Mesa in league play with just four league games remaining.

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Costa Mesa (14-4, 7-1 in league) still took back the trophy as the Battle for the Bell champion, based on aggregate run differential. The Mustangs had earned a 12-3 win at Estancia on Tuesday.

Estancia's Sawyer Atkinson (19) hits a run-scoring single against Costa Mesa during Friday's game.
Estancia’s Sawyer Atkinson (19) hits a run-scoring single against Costa Mesa during Friday’s game.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Estancia coach Nate Goellrich called that Tuesday game “sloppy” and “alarming” for his team, with six errors committed.

“We had a senior talk on Wednesday, just about how we want to represent ourselves and our program, because Tuesday wasn’t us at all,” Goellrich said. “Whether it was a win or a loss today, we wanted to come back and basically play on our toes, be the aggressor with the strike zone, the aggressor with our bats. It was great to see.”

Mits’ complete-game shutout helped, as he improved to 7-0 this season with a microscopic 0.16 earned-run average. He allowed three hits on Friday, striking out 11 Mustangs and walking three.

Mits struck out the side in the fifth inning, as well as the seventh to close out the game for Estancia (14-4, 6-2), which also had lost to Costa Mesa in the Halo Classic, a nonleague game, at Angel Stadium on March 20.

Costa Mesa's Wylan Rottschafer hits a solid single against Estancia on Friday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“From the start of this game, the first pitch, I painted the outside [corner],” he said. “That’s when I knew I was hot. I felt right away that I was good to go. I’m a pitcher where later on in the game, I get hotter and hotter. I felt great up on the mound, trusted my teammates, had a whole lot of confidence and got through it.”

The Eagles, ranked No. 7 in CIF Southern Section Division 4, erupted for four runs in the top of the third inning. No. 9 hitter Miles Dodge led off with a single to right-center. John Uchityl reached on a fielder’s choice, before Jake Humphries, Cole Lefebvre, Sawyer Atkinson, Mits and Riley Witte stroked five consecutive singles.

Mits added another run-scoring single in the fourth, plating Humphries, while Witte’s two-out single up the middle in the sixth scored two more.

“We’re in the hunt right now,” said Witte, who finished with three runs batted in. “Getting the win was big, not just to even out the series but to put our morale and our confidence up for the upcoming weeks.”

Estancia third baseman Cole Lefebvre tags out Costa Mesa's Grady Jackson during Friday's game.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Wylan Rottschafer, Omar Gutierrez and Grady Jackson had one hit each for Costa Mesa, ranked No. 2 in Division 6. Relief pitchers Troy Simmonds and Michael Joyce limited the damage late, helping the Mustangs take the Paul Troxel trophy.

Costa Mesa coach Jim Kiefer said his team, trying to win its first league title since 2009, has had solid pitching and defense all season. Kiefer still gave credit to Estancia.

“Mits was good, does what he does and they took advantage of a couple of hiccups for us in the third inning there,” he said. “They capitalized, and hat’s off to Estancia. They’re a good team … We’re up one with four [league games] to go. We control our own destiny, so that’s a good thing. We’ll bounce back, no question about that.”

Meanwhile, Estancia still has several contributors from the team that won the program’s first CIF Southern Section title two years ago, as well as the CIF State Southern California Regional Division V crown.

Costa Mesa outfielders Aiden Compte and Brennan Borg collide on a ball hit into right-center during Friday's game.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“The goal is to win CIF, win state and just run it back,” said Mits, who was a sophomore on that team. “I’ve grown up with these guys and love them to death. I know this is going to be my last year with them, so we’re going to end on a bang and give everything we have.”

Estancia plays at Mary Star of the Sea in a nonleague game Monday before returning to league play at Orange on Tuesday. Costa Mesa plays in the Ryan Lemmon Invitational tournament at Orange County Great Park in Irvine next week, and does not have another league game until April 16 at home against Orange.

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