Huntington Beach baseball Coach Benji Medure knew his team faced a tough challenge on a few fronts Friday.
First, his Oilers had to contend with an Edison team that has been on a roll in the past month and was tied with Marina and Los Alamitos for first place entering the key Sunset League game clash. Perhaps Medure's biggest concern was how his team would respond to Friday's game, just two days removed from losing a 12-inning affair at Edison.
The Oilers put Medure's concerns aside early Friday.
Huntington erupted for five runs in the first inning and scored a 7-4 victory over the visiting Chargers that kept the Oilers in the title chase. Although up five runs early, the Oilers fended off a few modest comeback attempts by the Chargers, who chipped away at that deficit. The result dropped the Chargers from a share of first and put them at 7-4 in league. The Oilers climbed to 6-5 in league. All five of their losses on the season have come in league play.
Huntington, which lost, 2-1, at Edison on Wednesday, is 14-5 overall.
"I told the kids how proud I was of them, the way they bounced back from Wednesday's loss," Medure said of the postgame speech he delivered to this team in shallow left field. "That loss was a tough one, a super-tough one. But we came out ready to play. So did Edison, They are a team that gets after you and even though they got down early, they continued to battle to the end."
After giving up two runs to the Chargers in the top of the second inning, winning pitcher Shane Grace allowed single runs in the fourth and fifth innings but shut the Chargers out over the final two innings. The left-handed senior improved to 4-2.
"He grinded this one out, for sure, but that's just him," Medure said of Grace. "He threw a lot of pitches today, but he's a tough kid and got the job done."
Huntington did most of its damage in its first time at bat, and did it with two out in the bottom of the first. The big hit in the five-run onslaught was a two-run double by senior Adam Daymude, who also stole home later in the inning to make it 5-0.
Edison got two runs back in the top of the second, but the Oilers scored once in the inning to lead, 6-2. Sophomore Marcus Mayorga doubled on the first pitch to start the bottom of the third and later scored on an infield error to make it 7-2. After giving up those two runs, Edison sophomore right-hander Dante Capoccia didn't allow another run.
The Chargers (9-11) scored again in the top of the fourth when freshman Kevin Ando came home on a passed ball. They got their final run an inning later when junior Jake Lesinski beat out an infield grounder, sophomore Brian Schales followed with a double to the wall in center field and Lesinski scored on an infield ground out sacrifice by junior Tyler Jones.
Both teams return to Sunset League action Wednesday. Huntington steps out of league play Saturday to play two games in the San Luis Obispo Tournament. The Oilers host Aliso Niguel at 9:30 a.m. and later host Long Beach Poly at 3 p.m.
In other Sunset League action Friday, Marina scored a 1-0 victory at Fountain Valley to remain in first place. The Vikings are 8-3 in league and 13-7 overall. They also defeated the Barons (13-9, 3-8), 11-5, Wednesday.