The 2014 prep baseball season is not even a month old, but the start to what is sure to be a fun Sunset League race already gets underway Friday.
The first games in the first round of league play finds defending champion Fountain Valley traveling to face Los Alamitos, Marina hosting Edison, and Huntington Beach home to Newport Harbor.
First pitch for all three games is 3:15 p.m.
Two Sunset teams enter league play ranked among the top 10 in CIF Southern Section Division 1: Los Alamitos is No. 2 and Huntington No. 6.
•Edison played a nonleague doubleheader Monday against Long Beach Poly, and split with the visiting Jackrabbits. Poly took the first game, 9-8, but Edison claimed a 1-0 win in Game 2.
In the opening game, Edison held an 8-1 lead but Poly scored eight runs in the fourth inning to go in front for good. Junior Kevin Ando went three for four with a double to pace the Chargers.
In Edison's 1-0 win in the second game, senior right-hander Aaron Satterfield scattered three hits and didn't allow a run in five innings in a pitching rotation that also saw senior Jason McLellan and juniors Noah Kronfly and Michael Mahony take the mound. Pinch hitter Wyatt Bersch started the ninth with a double and scored the winning run on a single by junior Nick Mailman.
The Chargers also won the consolation championship of the Loara Tournament.
"We have been playing consistently well thus far in all phases of the game, especially on the mound and defensively," Edison Coach Cameron Chinn said. "If we can get big hits with runners in scoring position, we should be able to give Marina a good game."
•Fountain Valley completed play Saturday at the Loara Tournament, and defeated Villa Park, 9-3, to finish 3-2 at the tournament. Senior pitcher Scott Schultz got the win, seniors Dillon Persinger and Brock Lundquist each homered, and juniors Willie Aguilar and Justin Navarro each had two hits for the Barons (4-3).
"We have played two good games thus far where we pitched and hit," Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said. "We will continue to piece together our pitching.
"Scott Schultz has stepped up thus far and has given us some quality starts. After that, we've been going to different guys to give us some innings. I've relied on Justin Navarro more than I wanted to but he's such a competitor that he's always asking for the ball. We need some of our returning guys to step up and pitch like they can. Offensively, we haven't been as productive as last year. Our execution has been poor and when you're in close games, those mistakes get magnified even more.
"It's still early in the year and with the experience we have, we'll make adjustments. Hopefully, they come this Friday against Los Al. Were probably facing one of the best pitchers in the county in Jacob Nix. He's a three-year starter and he'll have a big year. Hopefully, we can take some good at-bats against him on Friday. We have to be prepared to win a one run ball game. Runs will be at a premium when you face Los Al. To be honest, every team in the Sunset League has some pitching. It's going to be a battle each and every game."
•Huntington Beach dropped its final game Friday at the Newport Elks Tournament. The Oilers held a 4-0 lead on Trabuco Hills in the sixth inning but ended up with a 5-4 loss.
Huntington rebounded Monday to take a 4-2 nonleague game from visiting Aliso Viejo to run its record to 4-2. Sophomore Logan Pouelsen's two-run home in the bottom of the fifth broke a 1-1 tie and got the save. Senior Jesse Kuet had two hits for the Oilers.
Huntington Coach Benji Medure said that junior Noah Davis (2-0) will get the start in Friday's Sunset opener against Newport Harbor.
"Our league is wide open this year," Medure said. "Every team this year can make a run at the championship. Every team is deep in pitching and defense, and Newport is no exception. Newport has two [NCAA] D-1 pitchers [Shaun Vetrovec and Connor Seabold] that can shut any team down, so we have a huge challenge ahead of us.
"It's important to get the first one and give us an advantage in winning the three-game series with them."
•Marina ended the Loara Tournament with a pair of one-run victories. The Vikings edged El Modena, 4-3, in nine innings March 13, and got past Pacifica, 3-2, Saturday.
Senior Austin Sojka and junior Austin Moore had two hits each and sophomore right-hander Riley Ohl threw five innings in relief to grab the win against El Modena. In Saturday's win against Pacifica, junior right-hander Steve Gingery was solid in five innings with five strikeouts while not allowing a walk. Shadi Asad pitched the final two innings and earned the save. Leading the way offensively was Moore with three hits and junior KJ Spiratos had two hits.
"It was nice to finish off the Loara tournament with two victories," Marina Coach Bob Marshall said. "We have Edison at home [Friday], and they have been playing well. Our strength will be our pitching. Our hitting is coming along, it's contagious. We are finally starting to hit from top to bottom.
"Once again, the Sunset League will be competitive and a dog fight for the top."
•Ocean View began play Monday at the Rancho Cucamonga Cougar Classic, and scored a 6-2 victory over a Pico Rivera El Rancho team that is ranked eighth in CIF Southern Section Division 4. Seahawks highlights included senior right-hander Dustin Fisher (2-0) throwing a complete game with five strikeouts, and 10 different players contributing to a 10-hit attack. Driving in runs for the Seahawks were junior Gabe Ledezma, sophomore Brian Schlosser, sophomore Braydon Salzman, and junior Christian Adams.
Ocean View improved to 5-3 overall.
"It was nice to get this win after a couple of setbacks last week," Ocean View Coach Shane Borowski said. "To see 10 different guys get hits is great. I'm hoping it's a sign that the bats are waking up just in time for league.
"Our pitching has been solid all year, and [Monday], was no exception. Dusty [Fisher] was solid again for us. Of the 25 total batters he faced, he threw 20 first-pitch strikes. He puts the offense on the defensive, and he comes right at you."
Ocean View continued play in the Rancho tournament against Carter at 3:15 Wednesday, at Montclair High. The Seahawks then play Upland Thursday at 3:15 p.m. and Montclair at 6:30, both at Memorial Park in Upland. Ocean View starts league play next week on Thursday at home against Loara.
Ocean View finished 2-3 at the Newport Elks Tournament. The Seahawks defeated Troy (2-1) and Sunny Hills (4-3) but dropped games to La Serna (3-2), Laguna Beach (2-0) and Garden Grove (7-5). Fisher had two starts on the mound and allowed only one earned run in 10 1/3 innings during the tournament. Salzman (0-1) struck out nine and also gave up just one earned run in eight innings pitched, and went five for five on offense in five games. Sophomore Brandon Nicholson (2-0) pitched three games in relief, getting wins against Troy and Sunny Hills.
The Seahawks begin their Golden West League schedule March 27, at home against Loara at 3:15 p.m.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Baseball: Huntington Beach (No. 6, Division 1).