In the first week of play at the Newport Elks Tournament, the Laguna Beach baseball team has split its first four games.
The Breakers started their season March 1 and were edged, 4-3, by Orange. They came back on Saturday to dominate visiting Nogales, 10-1, and won, 8-2, on the road Monday at Centennial/Corona. On Wednesday, however, the Breakers were handed a 12-1 loss by visiting Segerstrom.
Laguna completes the tournament at 3 p.m. Friday at Westminster. The teams are playing for third place in the Costa Mesa Bracket.
"I think we have learned a lot since the Orange game," first-year Laguna Coach Mike Bair said. "We had some mental mistakes in that loss, but the kids corrected those mistakes and we got some nice wins over Nogales and Centennial. Segerstrom though just had our number. They hit very well and pitched very well and took it to us."
Blake Hester was a bright spot for the Breakers in Wednesday's setback, as the junior produced two doubles and scored a run.
In Saturday's 10-1 win over Nogales, Hester and fellow junior Robbie McInerny both had two runs batted in and sophomore right-hander Grant Wilhelm gave up just one run in five innings to get his first victory. Bair said that Wilhelm will get the start Friday at Westminster.
In an 8-2 win on Monday at Centennial/Corona, McInerny went three for four with a solo home run and drove in four runs, junior Adam Rodner also went three for four with two runs scored and junior left-hander Kurt Rebone (1-0) gave up one earned run in a complete-game victory that also was his first.
It was the second appearance of the season for Rebone, who closed out the Orange game.
"Robbie (McInerny) and Blake (Hester) have been critical components of our offense," Bair said. "Both have performed very well. Grant (Wilhelm) and Kurt (Rebone) are both first-year varsity players and have been real nice surprises for us. They both pitched really well."
Following Friday's game at Westminster, Laguna is idle until it begins defense of its Orange Coast League title March 16 with a 3:15 p.m. home game against Estancia. The Eagles on Wednesday defeated Westminster, 9-3, and will face Segerstrom on Friday for the Costa Mesa Division title of the tournament.
The Breakers on Wednesday fell, 13-2, in nonleague play at Corona del Mar. Prior to that loss, Laguna had won back-to-back games Saturday on the opening day of the 20-team Costa Mesa Tournament.
The Breakers started Saturday by falling behind early against Artesia before regrouping to rout the Pioneers, 16-2. They trailed, 1-0, but broke the game open by scoring six runs in the third inning. The rally was ignited by triples from Haley Putnam, Kennedi Gherardini and Veronica Clancy. Cory Kent went three for four with three runs scored and freshman Halle Redfearn also went three for four in the lead-off spot. The Breakers racked up 20 hits.
Putnam gave up three hits and one struck out six for the win.
In their second game Saturday, the Breakers came out slugging again and ran up a 15-3 score on Capistrano Valley. Laguna scored in every inning and Kent led the offense with a three-for-three game that included a home run.
Freshman Jen Sorenson, who Breakers Coach Alan Ludloff said had the "defensive play of the day" in center field, and Katyn Ott scored five runs on their five hits.
Redfearn struck out five and Putnam fanned three batters.
Laguna (2-1) resumes play at the tournament Friday against Newport Harbor. The outcome of Friday's game will determine who the Breakers play Saturday at the tournament.