Tars struck down again

LOS ALAMITOS — The last time Newport Harbor High played a baseball game in Los Alamitos, it rained throughout much of the game.

The two teams played seven innings and then the umpires finally called last month's Sunset League game because it was too wet to continue. The game ended in a tie and that has been the closest Newport Harbor has come to winning a league game this season.

The Sailors returned to Los Alamitos Thursday and lost, 8-0, keeping them winless in league. The weather was perfect this time around.

What was not was the starting pitcher's control for Newport Harbor and the defensive play behind him early on.

Wild pitches hurt the Sailors (3-12-1, 0-8-1 in league) from the onset, as Los Alamitos scored twice in the second inning and then two errors helped the Griffins score three runs in the third inning.

Los Alamitos led, 5-0, more than enough runs for the Griffins (8-7-1, 5-3-1) to knock off Newport Harbor for the second time in three days. In nine league contests, the Sailors have not scored five runs in a single game.

Los Alamitos Coach Aaron Moore said he sees a totally different Newport Harbor team from last year. Gone are eight starters and thoughts of the Sailors returning to the CIF Southern Section playoffs after Patrick Murphy led the program to its first postseason appearance in 20 years last season.

The Sailors' offensive troubles continued against starter Michael Farris (3-1). The 6-foot-2 right-hander shut down Newport Harbor for five innings, allowing five hits and striking out six.

The first time Newport Harbor got a runner in scoring position against Farris, catcher Andrew Yazdanbakhsh helped the junior out in the third inning.

With one out, Yazdanbakhsh picked off Jordan Desguin at third base. It was a missed opportunity for Newport Harbor, as on Farris' next pitch, Chase Kapana got on base with a bunt single.

The Sailors left Kapana on first base, marking the third straight inning they stranded a runner on first. They left two runners on in the fourth after Garrett Prather and Ted Steffel singled.

Los Alamitos pulled Farris before the sixth, but reliever Troy Rallings struck out four and blanked the Sailors in the last two innings. It was the second time a league opponent shut out Newport Harbor.

The lack of run support is one thing, but Coach Murphy said the losing has not taken a toll on the Sailors. They last won a game on March 15, when they rallied for three runs in the seventh to beat Back Bay rival Corona del Mar, 5-4, to split a doubleheader.

Another nonleague doubleheader awaits Newport Harbor Friday. The Sailors do not have much time to regroup.

Murphy said the team is leaving Newport Beach before sunrise and driving to Gilbert, Ariz., where Newport Harbor will be at the Higley Tournament for two days. Maybe a change of scenery will get Newport Harbor out of its rut.

"We're young, inexperienced in several positions on the field," said Murphy, who is in his second year.

"I think the teams that we're playing are more experienced, they're bigger and stronger than we are right now."

That will surely be the case the next time Newport Harbor plays a league game on April 27, when it plays host to Edison. It will not be an easy matchup for the Sailors, who face the undefeated league-leading Chargers, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Division I coaches' poll.

"We'll be ready for them," Murphy said with a smile. "They're going to lose once. It might as well be to us."

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Sunset League

Los Alamitos 8, Newport Harbor 0

SCORE BY INNINGS

Newport 000 000 0 — 0 6 2

Los Al 023 030 x — 8 8 1

Desguin, Rautus (6) and Guerin, McWhertor (5); Farris, Rallings (6) and Yazdanbakhsh. W – Farris, 3-1. L – Desguin, 2-2. 2B – Vilter (LA). HR – Montes (LA).

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