Corona del Mar collapses at Lancaster

LANCASTER — Corona del Mar High baseball coach John Emme called it the worst playoff loss in his 15 years with the Sea Kings.

CdM gave up three runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, as Lancaster rallied for a 4-3 win in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs Friday.

"This is definitely the worst playoff loss for sure and it's right up there with all of the [worst losses]," Emme said in a phone interview.

Senior Brent Lawson gave the Sea Kings (16-12) a 3-1 lead with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning. Lawson's homer drove in senior Brett Thompson, who led off the inning with a single.

But the Eagles (16-10) responded in the bottom of the ninth after two outs. Lancaster used a double, error, triple and then a single to win it.

Emme was upset CdM did not take advantage of its opportunities.

"We struck out nine times with runners in scoring position. That's a huge number," Emme said. "We should not have been where the game was into extra innings or have it be that close."

Senior Cort Hastings singled in junior Hunter Heckendorn for a CdM run in the fourth. But Lancaster answered with a run in the bottom of the frame.

Senior pitcher Andrew McCormack, bound for Stanford, pitched 8 2/3 innings. He struck out three and gave up eight hits.

Heckendorn was two for three with a double and a triple, while Hastings was two for four with a run batted in.

"The kids really battled hard," Emme said. "I said sorry to the seniors that it had to end this way. I wanted the other guys not to forget how this feels. When guys are working to improve themselves down the road, something like this can motivate them."

— From staff reports

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