Marina High completed quite the turnaround, going from last to first.
A season after going 3-12 in the Sunset League, the Vikings claimed the outright Wave League baseball championship.
Jagger Iovinelli led the way Tuesday.
The junior left-hander threw five strong innings, allowing two runs and two hits, and Marina beat Newport Harbor 8-4 at home, giving the Vikings their second league title in four seasons.
Ivoninelli said he had no idea he was starting until Tuesday morning. Marina coach Toby Hess said he wanted to give starter Cory Lewis some rest going into the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, which start next week.
Ivoninelli did his job, shutting out the Sailors for 4 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.
“I felt pretty good, warming up I felt pretty solid, so I was ready for a dogfight,” said Iovinelli, who improved to 2-0.
Ivoninelli’s outing and a six-run fifth inning allowed the Vikings (18-10, 6-2 in league) to finish atop the league with one game left.
Hess was delighted with his team’s performance against Newport Harbor (16-9, 3-5), which is battling to make the Division 3 playoffs. The Sailors are tied for third place with Laguna Beach (16-12, 3-5), who are both a game back of second-place Corona del Mar (17-8-1, 4-4). The Breakers’ regular-season finale is at CdM on Thursday. The top two teams in the league earn automatic postseason berths.
“It feels good to win the league title after a tough year last year and having a lot of injuries,” said Hess, in his third year in charge of the Vikings. “With a lot of the same guys, it was pretty special to bounce back this season.”
The Vikings led 2-0 after three innings. Troy Kent contributed, hitting a double in the bottom of the first inning. He eventually scored from second on a hit by Andrew Sojka.
Kent also hit a solo home run in the third inning. He also contributed defensively. He had a massive catch in center field late in the game that killed any momentum the Sailors had.
“I thought Troy Kent was amazing,” Hess said of his senior, who went two for four with three runs scored. “The double in the first, and, you know, the homer, just a big day and the catches he made.”
Despite being shut out through four innings, Newport Harbor was able to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning. Pinch-hitter Jack Bibb smashed a two-run home run to right field.
The Vikings answered with six runs in the bottom half of the inning to break open the game.
The Sailors scored two runs in the sixth inning off hits by Braham Duncan, Mac Briggs and Chase Greer. Greer went two for three with a double and a run batted in.
“Coming back from two runs in this ballpark is tough,” said Chalmers, whose team closes out league play at home against Marina on Thursday. “We had a big home run from Jack Bibb to tie the ballgame, but after that we had trouble fielding a ball in the infield, and then we walked the No. 9 hitter to get to the leadoff guy, who is dangerous. You can’t expect to compete in a close game when you do things like that.”
ANDREW LENNOX is a contributor to Times Community News.