Before the race began, several Sunset League baseball coaches felt the 2012 league season would be a grind.
They were right.
On the opening day of league play Friday, Huntington Beach, Edison and Marina picked up victories. Huntington's win at Fountain Valley turned out to be a thriller. The Oilers, ranked third in CIF Division 1, had to rally in the seventh inning to pull out a 5-4 win over the Barons.
Fountain Valley (6-2) took a 4-1 lead into the top of the seventh, where Huntington staged a big rally in its final at bat. Jesse Kuet hit a leadoff single, Adam Daymude walked on a 3-2 pitch and Jake Caron singled to load the bases. Brett Urabe then came to the plate and delivered a grand slam over the fence in left field, to put the Oilers on top, 5-4.
The Barons put runners at first and second in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't produce another run.
Senior Christian Abe pitched four scoreless relief innings for Huntington, which improved to 8-0.
"It was a huge comeback win," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said. "They (Fountain Valley) are a very tough team. They can swing it and they pitch well, so to come out of here with a win is big.
"I am very proud of my kids for not quitting. They kept battling all game, staying with our gameplan. It finally came together when we needed it most."
Brock Lundquist tripled in two runs and went two for three, Jordan Lucio went two for two, Turner Clouse had a hit and an RBI and Dillon Persinger had a hit and run scored for the Barons.
"If all the games are going to be like this, (then) everyone is in for an exciting Sunset League season," Fountain Valley Coach Ron LaRuffa said.
Both teams resume Sunset League play at 3:15 p.m. Friday. Huntington is home to Edison and Fountain Valley hosts Marina. At 3:15 p.m Wednesday, the Oilers travel to face Newport Harbor and the Barons have a road game at Los Alamitos.
Edison: The Chargers (2-6) began defense of their Sunset League title with a 4-0 shutout victory at Newport Harbor.
Junior Tyler Jones (1-2) got the victory behind a 10-strikeout, one-hit, complete-game performance. He also had one of Edison's 11 hits. Leading the Chargers' offense was Timmy Lopes, who went three for three with a double, an RBI and three runs scored.
Brian Schales had two hits and an RBI for Edison, which plays at Huntington Beach at 3:15 p.m. Friday. The Chargers next week play a 3:15 p.m. league game at Marina.
Marina: The Vikings (4-3) took their Sunset League opener by rallying for a 2-1 win over visiting Los Alamitos.
The Griffins were up 1-0 through 3 1/2 innings when Landon Marshall, on an 11-pitch at-bat, singled in Jake Bauers for the tying run with two out in the bottom of the fourth. The Vikings went in front for good in the bottom of the fifth when Keegan Reeser doubled off the fence in left field and later scored on an error by the Griffins.
Junior right-hander Austin Olivas pitched a complete game and was "outstanding," Marina Coach Bob Marshall said.
"Austin attacked the zone and worked ahead of a lot of the Los Alamitos hitters," Marshall said.
Marina goes to Fountain Valley for a 3:15 p.m. league game Friday. The Vikings also host Edison at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Ocean View: The Seahawks (2-6) suffered through a few costly errors and couldn't get their offense in gear in falling, 3-1, at Westminster on Friday in the Golden West League opener for both teams.
Timmy Robinson, Luke Fell and Colton Johnson each had hits, with Johnson driving in the lone Ocean View run. Johnson also pitched a complete game and didn't allow an earned run. Junior Tyler Mahle struck out seven Seahawks and pitched a complete game for the Lions.
Ocean View hosts league foe Loara at 3 p.m. Friday. The Seahawks also host Santa Ana in a 3 p.m. league contest Tuesday.