CORONA DEL MAR — In the same week, against the same team, the Corona del Mar High baseball put up the same number of zeros every inning.
In all, 14 zeros.
As the Sea Kings met near left field, trying to figure out how they failed to score in two big Pacific Coast League games against Beckman, the opposing coach looked over on Thursday.
"If you were here watching these two games, you might not believe me, but that's a good baseball team over there," Coach Kevin Lavalle said after his Patriots shut out host CdM, 8-0.
"I feel bad for them and I feel bad for [CdM Coach] John [Emme], but they'll get it fixed."
A break from league play came at the right time for CdM, which opens the four-day Beach Pit Classic Saturday at home against Foothill.
The Sea Kings began the week tied for first place with Beckman. They're now in second place, two games back of Beckman (11-3, 6-1 in league), which is trying to win four straight league titles and two straight CIF Southern Section Division 3 titles.
In two games during a three-day stretch, Beckman, ranked No. 3 in Division 3, outscored the No. 5 Sea Kings, 25-0.
Teams are playing with new bats, but it seemed like the Sea Kings (9-5, 4-3) swung at pitches without a stick in their hands.
When they face a pitcher of James Kaprielian's caliber, it just appears that way. The UCLA-bound senior threw a complete-game two-hitter, striking out nine to improve to 5-1.
The right-hander threw hard for all seven innings. He fooled hitters with his change-up, curveball and cutter. It just wasn't fair when he blew his 90-plus mile-per-hour fastball right past them.
The Sea Kings really stood no chance at beating Kaprielian (5-1) for the second time this season. He said he has only lost twice during his varsity career.
"We want to not only set the tone for us against CdM, but us against the whole league, and send a message to everybody out there," said Kaprielian, who bounced back from his only setback this season, coming in a 3-2 loss in the league opener at CdM on March 16.
The same two pitchers started in the third league meeting between the teams. Andrew McCormack, who is going to Stanford, went for CdM.
Through three innings, McCormack and Kaprielian dealt, keeping the game scoreless. The first ace to make a mistake was McCormack and it cost him as he suffered his first loss.
In the top of the fourth inning, McCormack (5-1) hit the first batter he faced, Zack Rivera, the No. 3 hitter, on the first pitch. He got the clean-up hitter to groundout, but Rivera advanced to second base.
Then Rivera took off for third on a grounder to shortstop Cort Hastings, who made the right play. Instead of throwing to first base, he fired to third base to get Rivera, but the third baseman didn't catch the ball. Rivera rose to his feet and raced home.
Backing up the play was catcher Brent Lawson. He threw to home plate, where McCormack was, only to see the home plate umpire rule Rivera safe. Emme believed the ump got the call wrong.
"I don't think it was close," Emme said. "It was a little unorthodox because Andrew tagged him behind him, between his legs."
Four more runs came around to score in the fourth inning, giving Beckman a 5-0 lead.
Torin Goldstein singled in a run, and with the bases loaded, Garret Brown drove in two runs with a single. A wild pitch by McCormack allowed Beckman to score the fifth run.
McCormack's day ended in the sixth. He walked the leadoff hitter and there was no way he was going the distance for the second time against Beckman.
Getting that third out was difficult for McCormack, who allowed seven runs, four earned, and eight hits, while striking out only one. With two outs, Brown, who went three for four with three runs batted in, and Connor Deneen each drove in a run and the Patriots went ahead, 7-0.
With Kaprielian pitching, that lead was more than safe. He only gave up singles to Hastings in the third inning and Brett Thompson in the fifth. He was on his way to improving to 26-2 for his career.
"One of the things we have not been doing a fantastic job of is getting guys deep into the count," said Emme, whose team recorded only seven hits this week against Beckman. "We're not walking a ton. Guys are getting up there a little overly aggressive. With these bats, you're not going to see home runs. You got to be patient at the plate.
"On the bright side, we're finished with [the first] half of league. Worse place we're going to be is tied for second. Beckman's in our rearview mirror and we just need to take care of our own business. We're in a pretty good position, so we just have to get past this."
Pacific Coast League
Beckman 8, Corona del Mar 0
SCORE BY INNINGS
Beck 000 502 1 – 8 11 1
CdM 000 000 0 – 0 2 2
Kaprielian and Shenasi; McCormack, Hastings (6) and Lawson. W – Kaprielian, 5-1. L – McCormack, 5-1. 2B – Brown (B).