The Orange Coast League opener between Laguna Beach and Estancia matched teams projected to battle for the championship.
Round One went to Laguna.
The Breakers rode a one-hitter by Chris Paul and clutch hitting by Erik Peruzzi and Steven Harrison to record a 5-1 victory March 18 over the Eagles.
Paul (3-0) tied his season high in strikeouts with 12. The senior didn't allow a walk and gave up an unearned run. Peruzzi, meanwhile, got Laguna going with a key hit in the top of the first and went on to a three-hit performance. Harrison followed Peruzzi in the first with a two-run double to left field that put the Breakers in the lead for good. Keaton Jones also doubled.
"Friday's game was a great team effort," Laguna Coach Jeff Sears said. "We played Breaker baseball with everyone all-in the whole game."
Laguna on Tuesday picked up league win No. 2 and ran its season record to 9-0 with an 11-0 rout of visiting Calvary Chapel. Jackson Rees took the mound and threw five scoreless innings. He was backed by an offense that jumped on Calvary Chapel early by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. The Breakers put the game away with a seven-run blitz in the fifth.
Laguna tagged three Calvary Chapel pitchers for seven doubles. Peruzzi and Paul each had three hits to lead a 14-hit day for the Breakers.
"We are playing very good baseball right now, but we are also working hard to better ourselves," Sears said. "Baseball is a funny game so we can't look back and we need to stay focused on the task at hand. None of our players want this to stop, that is why they are working so hard in the weight room and during practice."
Laguna, ranked seventh in CIF Division 4, hosts Godinez at 3:15 p.m. today. Next week, the Breakers travel Tuesday to face Costa Mesa (3:15 p.m.) and host Saddleback at 3:15 p.m. Thursday to close out the first round of league play.
In the early stages of the season, you can call the Laguna softball team the Bounce Back Breakers.
On March 10, Laguna suffered its first defeat of the season in a loss to Buena Park. Four days later, the Breakers came back to defeat Los Amigos. On Tuesday, they picked up a 20-9 nonleague win over Bolsa Grande, the triumph coming just one game after losing, 8-0, at Oxford Academy.
In a see-saw game that went back and forth, Laguna scored 10 runs in the seventh inning to pull away from a 10-9 lead, increasing its record to 4-2.
The Breakers scored three runs in their first at-bat, trailed by a run after the opening inning and again after five innings, but took a 10-9 edge through the sixth. Every Breaker scored in the game and Ali Lindsay, Veronica Clancy and Jordan Hartman reached base in every at-bat. Hartman, Karinna Riess, Corey Kent and Kennedi Gherardini each collected hits and runs batted in.
Starter Haley Putnam finished with three earned runs, five strikeouts and two walks in a complete-game effort.
Laguna traveled to Cypress on March 18 to face a seasoned Oxford Academy squad in nonleague play and suffered an 8-0 defeat to the Patriots, who were ranked ninth in CIF Division 6 at the time. For the Breakers, Hartman and Clancy each had hits and Riess reached base twice on walks. Putnam gave up three earned runs.
The Breakers play a pair of nonleague games next week beginning with a 3:15 p.m. Tuesday game at Santa Ana Valley. They'll host Santa Ana at 3:45 p.m. Thursday at Thurston Middle School.