Jeff Sears called it a “fun day.”
That’s how the Laguna Beach baseball coach described Tuesday, the day his Breakers won not one, but two, key Orange Coast League games.
Laguna twice took care of host Calvary Chapel at Vanguard University. In the first game of a doubleheader, the Breakers showed their moxie by coming back late to score a 6-4 victory. The second game had no-such drama, as the Breakers cruised to a 10-1 win.
The two wins allowed Laguna to further distance itself from the rest of the OCL pack. With six games remaining on the league and regular season schedule, the Breakers hold a four-game lead on their league brethren.
Calvary Chapel, which entered Tuesday’s key twinbill two games behind Laguna, needed both wins to catch the Breakers in standings. But with the two wins, fourth-ranked Laguna (Division 4) is now 9-0 in league and 19-2 overall.
“Winning these two was big for us,” Sears said after the Breakers ran their win streak to five. “Coming back to get that first game was huge. It deflates a team (Calvary Chapel) when you lose like that but winning that game gave us all the momentum heading into the second game.”
A key play in the first game came via left-fielder Jake Herbert, whose throw to home in the bottom of the fifth inning nailed Calvary base runner JT McLuckey. Herbert’s play prevented the Eagles from taking a 5-2 lead.
“That was a big, big play,” Sears said. “I think it got us going.”
Laguna’s offense responded in the top of the sixth to even the score. Austin Paxson was hit by a pitch and took second on a wild pitch before Chris Paul was intentionally walked. Eric Peruzzi then singled down the chalk line into right field to get Paxson and Paul to knot the score at 4-4.
The Breakers took the lead in the seventh. Travis Clawson started the rally with a lead-off single, Paxson singled and Paul again was intentionally walked, to load the bases. Both Peruzzi and Steven Harrison were hit by pitch to bring in the go-ahead and sixth runs.
Keaton Jones threw 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the win and improve to 3-0.
In the second game, Laguna exploded for six runs in the fourth inning and went on to a 10-1 win. During the inning, Larry Stewart had what Sears called a “huge” hit that triggered the scoring spree and brought home two runs to put the Breakers in front, 3-0.
Paul went two for three with a triple and two RBI, Clawson went two for three, Jones had a double and two RBIs and Zach Graf recorded his first hit of the season, a single in the seventh that scored a run.
Paul also got the pitching win and upped his record to 6-1. He gave up his only run in the bottom of the seventh.
With the two wins, Laguna completed a league sweep (3-0) of Calvary Chapel. The Breakers first defeated the Eagles, 11-0, on March 22.
Laguna closes out its league series with Godinez next week beginning with a 3:15 p.m. game Tuesday on the Grizzlies’ home field. The teams meet again at 3:15 p.m. April 29 at Laguna.
“We will always play things pitch by pitch, inning by inning,” Sears said of his team which has now surpassed the previous program record for wins in a single-season by three games. “We have a few days off until next week. Our only goal is to play hard, peak at the right time and prepare for the (CIF) playoffs. The school’s never hosted a home CIF playoff game, well, maybe it did in 1963. But all I know, it’s been a long, long time, since that’s happened. We want to host one.”
Laguna has two league games with Costa Mesa on May 3 and May 6 and closes out its regular season with league games on May 10 and May 12 against Saddleback.