It was a key, early road test, the Laguna Beach baseball team aced its exam.
The Breakers traveled Tuesday for an Orange Coast League game with Estancia and came out firing from the get-go. They put the ball in play throughout the contest, took advantage of a few fielding errors, and had the back of pitcher Kurt Rebone who tamed the Eagles.
It all added up to an 8-0 victory that kept Laguna undefeated in league play and moved the Breakers to 7-2 overall.
Rebone tossed a one-hitter. The senior left-hander allowed his only hit in the bottom of the first inning, a one-out single to right field by Levi Stillman. He gave up a one-out walk to designated hitter Eric Molina in the second but got out of the inning when the Laguna infield turned a double play.
Rebone then sent the Eagles (5-3, 0-1) down in order over the final five innings and finished with five strikeouts.
“He might be our ace,” Laguna Coach Mike Bair said of Rebone. “We have a deep and talented pitching staff. To have [Rebone] be 3-0, with an ERA under two (2.0), with two complete games under his belt, well, he’s been lights out for us.
“He was able to establish the outside corner of the plate the first time through, then established the inside corner, after that. He executed his pitches.”
"[Rebone] did a great job of hitting the outside corner,” Estancia Coach Nate Goellrich said. “He was getting ahead of us, and finishing us off. We just couldn’t get anything going.”
An interference call against Estancia in the top of the first inning allowed Laguna lead-off hitter Preston GrandPre to score the game’s first run. The Breakers went up, 2-0, in the fourth inning, then scored three times in the fifth to take control. Clean-up hitter Blake Hester took a 2-2 pitch and ripped it for a run-scoring double to deep center field. An Estancia infield error led to another run, and Will McInerny drew a bases-loaded walk to force home a run, to take the lead to 5-0.
Laguna Beach scored its final three runs in the sixth. Grant Wilhelm doubled to start the inning, Robbie McInerny and Jackson Rees each had an RBI single, and Richie Nunis brought in a run on an infield ground out.
The Breakers, who faced three pitchers, put at least one runner on base in all seven innings. Rees went three for three, Hester two for three and GrandPre two for four.
It was the second shutout in as many league starts for Laguna which opened its league season March 15 and pinned a 13-0 shut out on Saddleback. Hester went two for two and drove in three runs an Wilhelm had a hit and two RBIs. Rees (3-0) got the win, striking out eight with a walk in four innings pitched.
Laguna will face another test Friday when it plays host to Calvary Chapel at 3:15 p.m. at Skipper Carrillo Field. First place is on the line between the two league leaders.
The Eagles have league wins against Godinez (3-2) and Saddleback (16-1) in the books.
Bair said Rees will start Friday.
“We know Calvary is tough and we have to execute in all facets of the game to earn a victory,” Bair said. “Our pitching and defense has kept us in every game this season and now with our offense heating up, we like our chances heading into Friday’s game.”
The Breakers take on Santa Ana at 3:15 p.m. Friday at the Costa Mesa Tournament. On Saturday, they travel to JSerra for a nonleague doubleheader against the Lions starting at 10 a.m.