Huntington Beach baseball bounces back for third place at Boras Classic

Huntington Beach High baseball coach Benji Medure yells instructions.
Huntington Beach High baseball coach Benji Medure yells instructions as Trent Grindlinger rounds third base in the Boras Classic South tournament on Monday against Ganesha.
(Courtesy of Amanda Samaan)

Huntington Beach High baseball coach Benji Medure knows that sometimes learning comes in a tough loss.

His players learned something about themselves during Thursday night’s 4-3, 11-inning loss to host Mater Dei in the Boras Classic South semifinal game.

And Medure, in his 24th year at the helm of the Oilers, found out something about his players too.


“I learned that my team was tough tonight, for sure,” Medure said after the marathon game.

They bounced back Friday, picking up a 4-3 win over Etiwanda in the third-place game at JSerra High.

Huntington Beach (14-5) heads to the USA Baseball National High School Invitational tournament in North Carolina next week, beginning play on Wednesday against St. Johns Country Day of Florida. The Oilers are the defending tournament champions.

A two-out rally in the bottom of the 11th inning sparked Mater Dei to the Boras Classic semifinal win. No. 9 hitter Braden Ruiz singled to left and took second on a wild pitch. Antonio Ganem then doubled off the wall for the walk-off win.

Huntington Beach had gotten stellar pitching performances from freshman starter Jared Grindlinger, Otto Espinoza, Collin McNiven and Aaron Minnicucci.

Huntington Beach pitcher Nathan Aceves delivers.
Huntington Beach pitcher Nathan Aceves, shown earlier this season against Edison, got the win against Ganesha in the Boras Classic.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Minnicucci, a senior, got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. With one out, the Monarchs hit a fly out to left field, and Braedon Peterson-Cheek fired a strike to home to nail the would-be winning run.

“That’s a battle right there,” Medure said. “You know, that’s a heavyweight battle between two really good programs. I told them that this is one of those things that can springboard us into something better. It’s preparing us for something bigger than just this tournament. It’s just something that we can learn from.”

CJ Weinstein had two sacrifice flies for the Oilers. Matt Hansen, who had a double and a triple, scored the run each time.

Trevor Goldenetz also had a sacrifice fly for Huntington Beach, scoring John Petrie.

Mater Dei starting pitcher Brandon Thomas went eight strong innings for Mater Dei, allowing two runs.

“He competes in the strike zone, usually gets contact,” Mater Dei coach Richard Mercado said. “He can move the ball around, sink it, cut it, and so him going deep into games is something that we’re kind of expecting from him. Against such a quality ball club like Huntington Beach, a guy who can go eight innings and hold them to two runs, that’s a pretty special thing to do.”

Petrie had a three-run home run Friday in the third-place game against Etiwanda. He and Jayton Greer had two hits each.

Earlier in the Boras Classic South, Huntington Beach beat Pomona Ganesha 6-0 and Pasadena Maranatha 6-1.

Mater Dei played Corona for the tournament title Friday night.