HUNTINGTON BEACH — Fountain Valley's hot start to the 2013 season got even hotter Friday on opening day of the Sunset League baseball race.
The Barons received contributions from across the board against Huntington Beach and used a big fourth inning to pull away to a 5-0 victory over the host Oilers.
Fountain Valley won its seventh-straight game in improving to 7-0. The win at Huntington came a day before the Barons, ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, were to take on fourth-ranked Canyon of Anaheim in the championship game of the Loara Tournament.
The Barons rode the effective performance of senior pitcher Monty Plattner and key hits by junior Dillon Persinger and senior Jacob Peralta to the win.
They won by shutout for the third time in their last four starts.
"Execution. It was all about our execution today," first-year Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said. "We moved guys on base, came up with key hits, like that squeeze and hit-and-run, and we were on today. Those are things we work on, day in, and day out, in practice. Our guys really played well."
Plattner (4-0) threw six innings before giving way to sophomore Hunter Margain, who closed out the seventh when he sent the Oilers down in order. Plattner scattered eight hits and gave up a walk.
"I thought he was phenomenal," Yanagisawa said of Plattner. "Monty set the tone early. He threw around 70 pitches in six innings and was very efficient. He did a good job of keeping Huntington Beach off-balance. He's our senior leader and he wanted the ball today."
Fountain Valley had taken a 1-0 lead in its first at-bat on a one-out RBI single by junior Justin Brand. A four-run fourth inning put the Barons in control.
The four-run rally started with one out. Senior John Shattles drew a walk before sophomore Justin Cobb singled to left field off Huntington junior starter Andrew Arledge (2-1) who was then replaced by junior Sean O'Toole. The Barons continued their rally as senior Nic Yang singled into center field to score Shattles. On a hit-and-run play, Persinger delivered when he took his first pitch for a run-scoring single up the middle.
On the next pitch, Peralta laid down a double-squeeze bunt that drove in the final two runs of the inning for a 5-0 lead.
Persinger turned in a three-for-four day.
"It was awesome," Yanagisawa said of Peralta's two-RBI bunt, "Jacob had one of the most important hits of the game, and that hit-and-run by Persinger, also was a big one. They really allowed us to have a big inning."
"We got beat today," Huntington Beach Coach Benji Medure said. "They executed everything perfectly. I felt that we hit the ball well today, but we hit the ball right at somebody.
"I told our guys that this if the first time we got beat this year. I still like our team, and we'll move on from this."
Huntington, which fell to 5-3 overall, was down, 1-0, but threatened in the bottom of the third by putting runners at the corners. With two outs, junior Jesse Kuet sent a shot into left field that was nabbed by the Barons' Brock Lundquist for the final out.
The Oilers also got caught in a pickle situation between home plate and third in the bottom of the sixth that ended another potential rally.
"This is an important win for us," Yanagisawa said. "We struggled on the road last year, and we struggled against Huntington. Huntington Beach is a quality ballclub. They are young and athletic and are well-coached, and they'll be a different team when we see them again in two weeks."
Junior Jake Brodt went three for three to lead the Oilers. Freshman Logan Pouelsen and senior Jake Caron had lead-off singles in the second and third innings, respectively, junior Clint Jack and sophomore Tyler Murray singled, and junior Dillon Millar doubled in the sixth.
Huntington returns to league play Wednesday for a 3:15 p.m. game at Marina.
Fountain Valley, meanwhile, has a 7 p.m. date Saturday with Canyon of Anaheim in the Loara Tournament finale at Glover Stadium in Anaheim. The Barons resume Sunset League play Wednesday at home against Newport Harbor.
"My guys are ready to go," Yanagisawa said. "We're excited to be playing for the [Loara tournament] title but for me, right now, it's all about the Sunset League."