Baseball: Marina tops Fountain Valley, takes series

HUNTINGTON BEACH β€” For Fountain Valley High's sake, the Barons had to be happy to have already sewn up the Sunset League baseball title before this week's two-game series with Marina.

The Vikings, on the other hand, had to wish that the league race had one more week to it.

For the second time in a 24-hour period, Marina defeated Fountain Valley. Thursday's league and regular season finale for both teams belonged to the Vikings who bolted to a big lead early and never looked back, in claiming an 8-3 victory on senior day.

A day earlier at Fountain Valley, the Vikings knocked off the second-ranked Barons, 8-5.

Thursday's win allowed Marina, which increased its win streak to five games, to take the league series, 2-1. Fountain Valley won the first meeting between the teams, 3-2, on March 28 at Marina.

Despite both losses, Fountain Valley won the Sunset championship six days earlier, when the Barons defeated Edison, 7-3. They finished league play 12-3, after a 10-0 start.

Marina finished a game back of the Barons and closed out a 11-4 league campaign.

"It was a big week for us," Marina Coach Bob Marshall said.

Marina (18-8 overall) jumped on Fountain Valley early. Junior Landon Marshall had an RBI single and senior Grant Mayeaux followed with an RBI double, which led to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Vikings continued their assault in their next at-bat by scoring three more runs to increase their lead.

In the second, senior Max Willingham reached base on an infield error, and senior Jake Bauers followed with a double to right-center field. The Vikings forced Fountain Valley starter Hunter Margain from the mound at that point, and the sophomore was replaced by junior Scott Schultz.

Senior Jake Arledge took Schultz's first pitch for a double to the fence in right field which brought home both Willingham and Bauers. Two pitches later, junior Austin Sojka ripped a double to the corner in left field to plate Arledge to make it 6-0.

The Vikings went up, 7-0, in the third on a two-out RBI single by Bauers.

It was the last run Marina would score until the bottom of the sixth, when Bauers homered off the top of the wall in right field off Fountain Valley's third pitcher of the game, junior Joe Loranger. Bauers' hit gave the Vikings their final cushion of 8-3.

Fountain Valley (23-4) had closed to within 7-2 in the top of the fourth when Brock Lundquist absolutely annihilated a 1-0 pitch for a two-run home run. The junior's blast traveled roughly 410 feet, well beyond the fence in right field where the ball landed in the middle of an industrial complex.

The fence down the right field line measures 313 feet.

The Barons scored their final run in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly RBI by junior John Shattles.

"We walked into these two games this week, after knowing we had already locked up second place, and Fountain Valley had wrapped up first place, with a plan," Bob Marshall said. "Knowing that the [league] title had already been decided, we were playing these two games as though they were playoff games.

"Our guys really came through. We were hitting and running, and running and hitting. Our hitting is really starting to come through and we are peaking at the right time."

Starter Jackson Westermeyer got the win for the Vikings. He threw the first five innings and improved to 8-1.

Marina entered Thursday's finale on a hot streak to close out the regular season. The Vikings had a four-game win streak that started April 26 with a 2-0 shutout of Edison, included 4-0 and 12-1 wins against Newport Harbor, and Wednesday's 8-5 win at Fountain Valley.

Marina scored three runs in the top of the seventh to break a tie score Wednesday at Fountain Valley to come away with its 8-5 win. Senior Casey Hayes went three for four with a double and home run, senior Tyler Mildenberg went two for four with two RBIs, Bauers singled with two RBIs, and Sojka doubled with an RBI.

Steven Gingery, in relief of starter Austin Olivas, got the win. The left-handed sophomore threw the final two innings, allowed a run and two hits, and improved to 3-2.

Marina previously had polished off host Newport Harbor, 12-1, Friday to secure second place in the league standings. Mildenberg went three for four with two doubles and three RBIs, and Sojka also went three for four with three RBIs as a result of a double that cleared loaded bases.

Westermeyer, who threw four innings and gave up one run, earned the victory. Senior Max Gibbs threw two innings and senior Dee Atwood closed out the seventh.

Both the Vikings and Barons are headed to next week's CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. Both will learn their first-round assignments Monday when the playoff brackets are announced. Fountain Valley, as a league champion, will be at home for a first-round game. The Barons also are in line for one of the top four seeds in the tournament.

First-round games are at 3:15 p.m. on May 17.

In Sunset League softball action Thursday at Marina, the host Vikings, ranked second in CIF Southern Section Division 1, captured an outright Sunset League championship by blanking Fountain Valley, 3-0.

The CIF Southern Section softball playoff pairings also will be revealed Monday.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World