The regular season may have come to an end this week for the Laguna Beach baseball and softball teams, but the 2012 campaign is far from over for both squads. By winning Orange Coast League games Tuesday, both have earned berths to the upcoming CIF Southern Section playoffs.
A stellar pitching effort by Grant Wilhelm, Kurt Rebone, Larry Stewart and Preston GrandPre translated into a no-hitter and a 10-0 home shutout of Saddleback. Wilhelm, a sophomore, threw four innings and got the win. GrandPre, also a sophomore, also had a big game offensively with a three-run home run.
It was the final regular-season home game for the Breakers, who celebrated Senior Day on Tuesday.
The win upped Laguna's record to 16-8 and put the Breakers at 9-5 in league, good for third place.
"We had all cylinders firing [Tuesday]," Bair said. "Four pitchers combined for a no-hitter, we made no errors in the field, and had 13 hits and 10 runs offensively. A great team effort."
In their previous game May 4, the Breakers scored a 7-1 win at Godinez. Blake Hester went two for three with a double, run batted in and run scored, and Steven Harrison homered. Junior Jackson Rees got the win.
"We are clicking together at the right time, playing solid defense, pitching extremely well and taking quality at-bats," Bair said. "We feel confident together as we move toward CIF."
Things didn't look too promising for Laguna after five innings at Costa Mesa on Tuesday.
Laguna wiped out a two-run deficit on Costa Mesa's Senior Day by scoring three runs in the top of the sixth, then put the game away by sending 10 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh to produce six more runs. The late scoring onslaught led to a 10-3 victory.
"We sort of slumbered through the game early, but we came on strong at the end," Laguna Coach Alan Ludloff said after this Breakers improved to 6-3 in league and 14-7 overall. "We put runners on base in every inning, but we just we not manufacturing runs. The girls, though, had great energy in the game and we ran the bases well and they came through."
Costa Mesa had taken a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run double by Mustangs pitcher Nicki Delgado. In the top of the sixth, Halle Redfearn started Laguna's comeback by drawing a lead-off walk. She would score on a sharp double to center field by Kennedi Gherardini. The junior scored the tying run on a throwing error. The Breakers took their first lead when Cory Kent reached base on another throwing error and went on to score on another throwing error.
In the Laguna half of the seventh, Katyn Ott hit a lead-off double and later scored on a bloop single into right field by Haley Putnam. An infield single by Gherardini plated Redfearn, who reached base on a bunt single, and the rout was on.
Redfearn, a freshman who pitched a complete game, finished with nine strikeouts and allowed two earned runs.
Tuesday's win was the second big win by the Breakers in five days. On May 4, they scored the tying run in the bottom of the seventh against visiting Godinez to force extra innings, then posted the winning run in the bottom of the eight to pull out a 6-5 win at Thurston Middle School. Redfearn scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the eighth to give Laguna its first lead and the win.
The CIF Southern Section baseball and softball pairings will be released Monday.