Benji Medure has been head coach of the Huntington Beach High baseball team for 19 years, and he is very familiar with the field across town at Edison.
“The wind blows out to right here at Edison,” he said. “I’ve never played a game here where the wind wasn’t blowing. It’s amazing.”
Coming into Friday’s key Surf League game at Edison, Medure told the Oilers’ hitters to try to hit the ball up in the air.
Josh Hahn listened.
Hahn’s grand slam in the second inning propelled Huntington Beach to a 7-2 victory, and into outright first place in league a third of the way through the campaign.
The UCLA-bound Hahn launched a 3-1 fastball up in the air and it carried over the right-field wall for his sixth home run of the season, scoring Dylan Ramirez, Joe Yost and Cole Minato. That gave the Oilers (12-2, 3-0 in league) a 4-1 advantage. Edison (11-6, 2-1) had gotten on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning, when Caden Aoki’s single to left scored Caden Kendle.
“After the first inning, we got everybody together and we were just talking about how the wind’s blowing out today,” Medure said. “That’s our kind of game. That benefits us. We needed a big hit from somebody to change the momentum a little bit and take the crowd out of it, and he stepped up and did it. I mean, I was hoping for a bases-loaded walk right there. The grand slam was a little bonus on top of it. That was a huge momentum swing for us.”
Senior left-handed pitcher Edward Pelc improved to 4-0 for Huntington Beach, allowing one run on just one hit in four innings. He walked five but struck out eight, before Ramirez threw two shutout innings in relief.
The Oilers, ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll and No. 3 in the state by MaxPreps.com, kept building their lead. Ramirez’s sacrifice fly in the third scored Brett Barrera, and Huntington Beach plated two more in the sixth, when Yost led off with an infield single and eventually scored on Hahn’s sacrifice fly.
Barrera’s single with two outs then scored Minato, the senior leadoff hitter who reached all five times with a single, two walks, an error and being hit by a pitch.
Edison senior left-handed pitcher Lucas Hamilton went two innings and took the loss.
“They have a lot of depth in their lineup and they take aggressive swings,” said Edison coach Cameron Chinn, whose team returns to action when it hosts Los Alamitos on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. “It’s a team that you don’t want to fall behind early in the count on, and we were just doing that too often, putting them in hitter’s counts and putting the ball over the middle of the plate. They’re going to make you pay when you do that.”
Jag Burden was two for four with a double for Huntington Beach, and Jake Vogel also had a double. Yost was two for three with two runs scored.
The Oilers concluded a challenging week in league play, as they needed a walk-off, two-run home run by Vogel on Wednesday for a 9-7, eight-inning win over Los Alamitos.
“This league’s really tough,” Hahn said. “Everyone just grinds. They’re all good baseball teams, and it’s fun being out there with real good competition.”