The season may have come to an end for the Laguna Beach High baseball team, but what the Breakers accomplished on the diamond will live on well beyond their 2011 campaign.
Officially, the season closed May 27 in Westlake Village, the day the Breakers fell, 6-3, to Oaks Christian in the quarterfinal round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs. Statistically, what transpired in a 30-game season will go down in school annals.
Fourth-ranked Laguna, which had its 13-game win streak snapped, actually out-hit fifth-ranked Oaks Christian, 11-7, but gave up two runs in the first inning and trailed the Lions throughout. Junior Travis Clawson led the Breakers, going three for four and Erik Peruzzi went two for four. Austin Paxson and Larry Stewart each had a hit and a run batted in and Chris Paul, Keaton Jones, Jake Herbert and Alex Iannotti all singled.
“We played well and hit the ball extremely well and could have easily won this game,” Laguna Coach Jeff Sears said. “We hit into several double plays (five) and they (Oaks Christian) played good defense and had a couple of two-out flares down the line that led to RBIs for them. We had an error in the first inning that cost us, but our guys fought back. It was a phenomenal season.”
Chris Paul (10-2) threw the first 3 2/3 innings before giving way to Stewart who finished in relief.
“He pitched flawlessly,” Sears said of Stewart. “He’s just a sophomore and gained really good experience.”
The 2011 Breakers, who finished 27-3, set nearly every offensive record for the program, which just wrapped its 73rd season. In Sears’ fourth year in the program, these are records his team set this season:
•Games played: 30
•League wins: 15
•Home wins: 14
•Runs scored: 273
•Runs per game: 9.1 t
•Earned run average: 1.64
•Runs in a game: 32
•Runs in a single inning: 17
•Margin of victory: 30 runs
•Win streak to start season: 14
Sears, who is now 71-46 at Laguna, has the most career wins among the 26 coaches in the program’s history. He holds the highest winning percentage and is tied with Norm Borucki for most career league wins (35).
“This was a very cohesive group,” Sears said of his team. “They wanted one common goal and that was to get it done. They didn’t care who got us there, just as long as we got there. Everyone had a hand in this.”
Peruzzi (catcher), Paxson (center field), Paul (pitcher/shortstop), Jones (shortstop/pitcher), Herbert (left field), Taylor Preston (catcher/outfield) and Alex Lebon (left field, pitcher) are part of a senior class that went out in style.
“Those guys really showed the younger guys how to play,” Sears said of his senior group. “Every day in practice, they wanted to learn and wanted to be coach. It was genuine. They not only worked hard this year, but for the last four years. It was just a great group to coach.
“This truly was what someone would call a ‘dream season.’ It was the real deal where everything aligned. And the kids did it. They went out and played hard. And it was a lot of fun.”