The Corona del Mar High baseball team had a strong offense this season, and three of the seniors who helped the Sea Kings strike fear in the opposition played one last high school game Saturday.
J.T. Schwartz, Chazz Martinez and Alex Rosen each represented the Pacific Coast League against the South Coast League, in a Ryan Lemmon Senior Showcase game at Windrow Community Park in Irvine.
CdM coach John Emme, who is retiring following 21 years at the helm of the Sea Kings, also coached in the game for the Pacific Coast League.
The UCLA-bound Schwartz started as the Pacific Coast League’s cleanup hitter, with Martinez, bound for UC Santa Barbara, as the No. 5 hitter and the Georgetown-bound Rosen at No. 6. They manufactured the game’s first run in the bottom of the second inning, but the South Coast League rallied for a 3-2 victory.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Schwartz, who played center field. “Some of these guys, I’ve played against for two or three years now, some of them for all four. One last go-round with all of them was fun. We were just kind of chatting it up in the dugout. It was a good time. It’s been a long ride.”
Martinez, who also played first base, was one of seven pitchers for the Pacific Coast League. The designated visiting team used one in each inning. Martinez was impressive in the second, striking out the side.
Schwartz reached twice in the game, the second on an error. The first time, he singled to center leading off the bottom of the second.
Schwartz stole second, and Martinez followed with a fly ball to deep center, deep enough for Schwartz to tag up and advance to third. He then scored on a single to left by Rosen, who played second and third base.
Rosen eventually came home on a single by Beckman’s Jake Groves, giving the Pacific Coast League a 2-0 lead.
It would stay that way all the way until the top of the seventh. Aliso Niguel’s Connor Kokx led off with a single, and an out later, a two-run home run by Jeff Bruyntjens of San Clemente tied the score at 2-2.
With two outs, Bryce Willits of Capistrano Valley singled home another run to give the South Coast League a 3-2 lead. The designated home team would hang on in the bottom of the frame.
Left-handed pitcher Matt Comnos, who threw the final four innings for the South Coast League, gave up a walk and a single but worked out of the jam.
Despite the loss, the Sea Kings were upbeat after the game. This year, they helped CdM finish second in league and advance to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs, where the Sea Kings lost 3-1 to eventual champion Yucaipa. With a 15-4 first-round win over Riverside Woodcrest Christian, CdM advanced to the second round for the first time since 2009.
“That was a lot of fun,” Martinez said. “Everyone hit. We were kind of timid to go out there after the past three years. We just wanted to break the curse, and we did.”