COSTA MESA — It’s true losses hurt, especially the setbacks in high school league play. So while Estancia’s baseball team somewhat dealt with the pain of losing, the Eagles couldn’t help but shrug after dropping a 5-1 Orange Coast League opener to visiting Laguna Beach.
Sometimes a shrug is all there’s to do after such a commanding performance by pitcher Chris Paul. The Laguna Beach senior, bound for UC Santa Barbara, recorded a one-hitter, while striking out 12 with no walks Friday.
“He was lights out,” Estancia Coach Matt Sorensen said of Paul. “There wasn’t much we could do. Twelve strikeouts, zero walks. We were fortunate to get the one [hit]. We would’ve liked to put the ball in play a little bit more, but you’ve just got tip your hat to a kid who goes out and has a performance like that.”
The Eagles (3-4, 0-1 in league) couldn’t do much against Paul and it was too challenging to cool down the Breakers (8-0, 1-0), who are off to the best start in the program’s history, Laguna Beach Coach Jeff Sears said.
Estancia junior Brodie Pearce was the only one to get a hit off Paul. Pearce doubled to right in the third inning. Senior Tyler De la Pena pushed him over to third with a sacrifice bunt. Senior Ray Holmes followed, putting the ball in play to Paul, who threw it to catcher Eric Peruzzi.
The catcher dropped the ball when Pearce slid into home for the Eagles’ lone run. Laguna was already up, 3-1, and the Breakers added two more runs on two outs in the seventh inning.
Peruzzi may have played a part in allowing that Estancia run to score, but he created some damage for the Eagles too. He went three for four with one run batted in. Steven Harrison went one for two with three RBIs for the Breakers.
Laguna Beach started off hot with three runs in the first inning against De la Pena. Harrison came up with a big hit, a two-run double and Peruzzi had an RBI single before that.
After the game, Paul and Peruzzi talked about their team’s hunger to get after a league title and it showed against Estancia. The Breakers were eager to prove they can be the best team in the OCL. They beat the Eagles twice last season, but Estancia won the OCL championship, its first league title since 1991.
The Eagles are a team in transition, as their top two pitchers Ryan Bosleo and Marc DeFrenza from last year graduated and are now playing at Orange Coast College.
But Sorensen believes his team can be better than last year.
“We’re a lot deeper on the mound,” Sorensen said. “We’re going to be OK ... We’re in good spirits. We like where we are at.”
Orange Coast League
Laguna Beach 5, Estancia 1
SCORE BY INNINGS
LB 300 000 2 – 5 7 2
Est 001 000 0 – 1 1 2
Paul and Peruzzi; De la Pena, Rios (7) and Pearce. W – Paul. L – De la Pena. 2B – Peruzzi (LB); Pearce (LB).