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Newport Harbor baseball walks off against rival Corona del Mar

Corona del Mar High baseball was hoping to avenge an earlier loss in the season to rival Newport Harbor.

The Sea Kings lost 12-3 to the Sailors on March 20 and started ace pitcher Tommy Wilcox Tuesday in hopes of a different outcome.

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Wilcox pitched six strong innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits. He also struck out eight. Despite Wilcox's effort on the mound, the Sea Kings came out on the losing end as the Sailors rallied to come from behind and win 7-6 in extra innings.

Both teams came into Tuesday’s game with similar records. Newport Harbor had a record of 14-7 overall with a 2-3 record in Wave League play. They sat in third behind Marina and Laguna Beach. CdM was tied with Newport Harbor at 2-3 and an overall record of 15-7-1 going into Tuesday’s game.

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Even with the loss, CdM Coach Kevin McCaffrey felt his team played well. “Our kids played hard. Tommy Wilcox was great on the mound for us. Defensive miscues that we haven’t had all year is what cost us. We threw the ball around and gave up unearned runs,” he said.

Going into the third inning, it looked like CdM was going to take control as the Sea Kings took a 3-2 lead. Senior shortstop Reece Berger knocked a solo home run to put his team ahead. The Sea Kings were able to get three more runs, but it wasn’t enough.

McCaffrey said he hopes his team can get back on track after a tough loss: “We just have to take it day by day and have a great practice tomorrow and then get back going on Thursday,” he said.

They face the Sailors again on Thursday.

Newport Harbor trailed most of the game but tied it in the bottom of the seventh 6-6. Junior catcher Chase Greer knocked a two-run double to send the game into extra innings. Greer went 2 for 4 with a stolen base and two RBI’s.

In extra innings with runners in scoring position, Clay Liolios hit a ground ball to the CdM third baseman who was unable to knock it down. This led to John Olmstead crossing the plate with the winning run.

Sailors coach Evan Chalmers team has now won six games in a row.

“We’re playing well of late,” he said. “There is a good team chemistry with this group, and they don’t give up. We can score numbers with anybody, and that's what we did today.”

Newport Harbor also had a solid pitching performance by junior Kelly Austin, who went five innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. He also contributed at the plate with two hits and two RBIs.

ANDREW LENNOX is a contributor to Times Community News.

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