A four-run first inning by Trabuco Hills proved hard to overcome for the Fountain Valley High baseball team in its Ryan Lemmon Baseball Tournament opener.
The Barons did not do themselves any favors, with a couple of costly errors in the opening frame.
Trabuco Hills took advantage, earning a 7-3 victory on Saturday night at Orange County Great Park Stadium.
Ryan Ball and Dylan Tanner had back-to-back one-out singles for Trabuco Hills (12-7) in the top of the first, before Robbie Weiskittel reached on an error by the Fountain Valley third baseman and Justin Bailey reached on another miscue by the second baseman.
Barons starting pitcher Jackson Ouellette recovered to strike out Jake Naso, but Drake Martin’s single to shallow right field scored two more unearned runs.
Fountain Valley (4-11) has struggled this season, and coach Deric Yanagisawa said the first inning Saturday was typical. Yanagisawa had a lengthy talk with his team down the third-base line following the loss.
“After the first inning, we played OK, and I thought they battled hard,” Yanagisawa said. “It’s just been a tough year when our pitchers have to get more than three outs in an inning. I was hoping today we could come out a little bit better. They’re just routine [plays] that we have trouble making.
“It’s been a pretty tough year. We’ve had trouble scoring some runs, and couple that with us not playing very good defense. It’s just one of those years. These kids work their [behinds] off, they battle and they’re doing their best. It just seems like we’re not creating our own luck. We’re not creating our own good breaks.”
Fountain Valley did battle back within 4-3 after four innings. Jake Brooks was hit by a pitch in the second and fourth innings and scored both times, on groundouts by Nick Horn and Tito Sanchez. But Trabuco Hills scored three more runs in the top of the seventh to create some more breathing room.
Jacob Garcia was two for two for Fountain Valley, which had just three hits in the game. Freshman Chris Ouellette, who batted leadoff Saturday, had the other hit as well as another run-scoring groundout that plated Garcia in the third inning.
Fountain Valley continues the tournament Monday, when it plays Riverside M.L. King at Great Park field No. 5 at 3:30 p.m. The Barons play against Laguna Beach on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the same field.
Fountain Valley will be looking to get some wins over the rest of the four-day tournament to take some momentum into the second half of Surf League play. They are currently 0-3 in league, though they were competitive in a 4-2 loss to rival Edison and a 3-2 setback against Los Alamitos.
“We just can’t get that two-out knock,” Yanagisawa said. “It’s been a pretty tough year, but these guys are hanging in there. I feel like our coaching staff has done an awesome job of trying to stay positive. We’re a team full of juniors, we started a freshman today, and we have a sophomore in the lineup. It’s a learning experience for these kids.
“We’re going to use this tournament to figure out who we’re going to go with for the rest of the year. We’ll keep trying to play better. That’s the hardest part on our end, to keep these guys motivated on a daily basis to want to work hard. But, you know, that’s our job as coaches and we’ll take on that challenge. We’ve just got to keep these guys engaged.”