Laguna vying for early crown

There's a mirrored sign that hangs inside the home dugout at the Laguna Beach High baseball field that reads "Challenge Yourself."

Through the first week of a three-month season, the Breakers have done just that.

Laguna has won its first four games of 2011. A seemingly modest accomplishment to most, but for this team, it ties the mark with the 1957 team for the best start to a season in 73 years of Laguna baseball.

Victory No. 4 came Wednesday at Skipper Carrillo Field against Segerstom, a 12-6 semifinal triumph in the Newport Elks Tournament. It also sends the Breakers into the championship game of the Costa Mesa division bracket of the tournament, where at 3 today they'll host Nogales.

The firepower on offense Wednesday came from several bats. Larry Stewart went three for four with two runs batted in, Travis Clawson went two for four with two RBIs, Eric Peruzzi went two for three with two RBIs and Austin Paxson had two hits, including a bases-clearing double.

Jack Pillsbury threw just 2/3 innings in the fourth, but it was enough to get the junior his first career varsity victory. Pillsbury worked his way out of a jam in the frame. Laguna went on to score six more runs and Stewart then threw 1 1/3 innings and Keaton Jones closed to get the save.

Senior Jake Herbert started on the mound for Laguna.

"Offensively, we executed really well but we've got to clean up some areas on defense," Laguna Coach Jeff Sears said. "We made five errors on defense, yet still won. That's rare in high school baseball."

The Breakers began their season last Friday and scored a 2-0 shutout over visiting Westminster. Senior Chris Paul, whom Sears said gave a "great pitching performance," struck out nine and didn't allow a walk in six innings. Jones struck out two of three batters he faced in the seventh to pick up the save. Paul and Jones also provided the offensive punch as both doubled twice and Paul drove in Jones twice.

Laguna returned to tournament play Saturday and defeated host Norte Vista in Riverside, 13-5. Stewart threw five innings to get the win.

"He threw five innings of very good baseball," Sears said of the sophomore.

Pillsbury and Herbert threw scoreless innings to close the game. Clawson hit his first varsity home run and Robbie McInerny had two hits and three RBIs.

On Monday, Laguna wiped out a 3-1 lead by Savanna and rallied for a 4-3 win over the visiting Rebels. Jackson Rees pitched 6 2/3 innings before developing a blister that forced him from the mound. Jones came on in relief and notched his second save.

Down, 3-1, Paul tied the score on a two-run home run to deep left-center field. In the Laguna sixth, freshman Steven Harrison doubled off the top of the fence, then Clawson ripped a single to right to score Harrison for the winning run.


Boys' Volleyball

In a nonleague match Wednesday that put Laguna Beach — the top-ranked team in Division 2 — against Huntington Beach — the seventh-ranked team in Division 1 — it was the visiting Oilers who scored a 25-16, 25-17, 25-17 victory at Dugger Gym.

Robbie McKnight had 12 kills for the Breakers, who take a 6-2 record into a 5:30 p.m. home nonleague game today against Dana Hills.

Laguna competed last weekend at the Foothill Tournament, where the Breakers went 5-1 and reached the championship game of the Gold Division. The Breakers scored pool play wins Friday over West Valley (25-10, 25-12), Norco (25-19, 25-16) and Laguna Hills (27-25, 25-9).

On Saturday, they defeated Foothill (25-18, 25-21) in the Gold Division quarterfinals and Fountain Valley (25-21, 20-25, 15-10) in the semifinals. They fell, 25-16, 25-22, to Mater Dei, in the Gold Division final.

Next week, Laguna plays a 6 p.m. nonleague match Wednesday at San Clemente.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World