Fountain Valley High baseball Coach Deric Yanagisawa called it a "huge week" for his Barons, and rightfully so: they were about to embark on a two-game swing against Huntington Beach that would have a direct impact on the Sunset League race.
It turned out to be a beneficial week for the Barons who by virtue of their two wins over the Oilers, took over sole possession of first-place in a tight title chase.
Fountain Valley won a wild, 9-7 contest April 23, then led the entire way Friday in defeating the visiting Oilers, 6-0.
The two wins catapulted previously unranked Fountain Valley into the No. 3 slot in this week's CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll. Huntington, which was ranked No. 1 heading into the two games, dropped to No. 5.
"This was a huge week for us, and our guys played extremely well," Yanagisawa said after his team improved to 15-6 overall and 8-1 in league.
The first two innings of Friday's game had an eerily similar feel to the one the teams had played two days earlier at Huntington. In both instances, Fountain Valley jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Unlike the April 23 high-scoring game, however, this time, the Barons never relinquished the lead.
Behind the standout pitching of Scott Schultz and timely hitting from its offense, Fountain Valley claimed a 6-0 shutout that put the defending champions alone in first place in the league standings. The Barons entered the week trailing the Oilers by a single game in the standings but by virtue of back-to-back wins against the Oilers, occupied the top spot heading into this week.
"Scott [Schultz] pitched a great game," Yanagisawa said. "He's been good for us all year. For him to go out there, and shut down a very good Huntington Beach team, was just amazing."
The Barons' senior ace limited Huntington (15-4, 7-2) to two hits in a complete-game effort. Schultz, now 9-0, struck out five and walked two, and sent the Oilers down in order in the final three innings.
"That kid's good," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said of Schultz. "He put the ball where he wanted to, and kept us off balance. He's the reason they beat us.
"We lost because they were better than us in all facets today. They hit, fielded and pitched better than we did. They deserved the win."
Dillon Persinger drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to center field in the opening inning, Willie Aguilar, who had singled, scored on the play when a throw to the plate got away and went out of play. Daniel Patzlaff (two hits), JT Navarro and Brock Lundquist each had an RBI single in the bottom of the second to increase the lead to 5-0. The Barons added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Aguilar singled to center and later scored on Persinger's two-out single to center.
Fountain Valley staked its way to an early, 5-0 lead, April 23, lost that advantage and fell behind two runs, but scored the game's final four runs to emerge with a scintillating, 9-7 victory at Huntington. The game produced 19 hits, a big one being a grand slam in the top of the second by Patzlaff that put the Barons in front, 5-0.
Huntington rallied for two runs in the bottom of the second, then took its only lead by scoring five runs in the third. With one out and bases loaded in the third, Huntington's Marcus Mayorga ripped a two-run double to the wall, and Logan Pouelsen's ground-rule double drove in two more runs for a 6-5 lead for the Oilers. Daniel Amaral, MVP of the Hard 9 National Classic two weeks ago, flew out to right-center field but drove in Jesse Kuet to make it 7-5.
Fountain Valley retaliated immediately, a two-out rally in the top of the fourth producing three runs that put the Barons back on top for good. Junior Aguilar doubled in a run and Daniel Rosica crushed an 0-2 fastball for a two-run double to give the Barons an 8-7 lead. They scored the final run in the sixth when Persinger hit a two-out, RBI single.
Jarrett Anton and Kuet both singled in runs in the bottom of the second for Huntington which had its 12-game win streak snapped.
"It was a great game on both sides," Yanagisawa said. "In our last eight games with those guys (Huntington Beach), it's either been a one-run game, a close game, or a back-and-forth game. Huntington Beach is a very good ballclub, and they were rolling coming into this game. To get this game was absolutely huge for us."
The two wins gave Fountain Valley the league series with Huntington, 2-1. The Oilers won the first meeting, 2-1, March 26.
•Edison took on Newport Harbor twice last week, and split with the Sailors.
The Chargers took the first game April 23, winning 5-1. Noah Kronfly (5-1) limited Newport to three hits, Brian Schales singled and hit a two-run home run, Michael Mahony had an RBI single, and Kevin Ando singled home two runs.
On Friday, Edison couldn't muster much offense and suffered a 3-1 loss. Nick Mailman doubled for the Chargers who are 6-3 in league and 15-6 overall.
"We anticipated another close, low-scoring game vs Newport and they deserve a lot of credit for out-playing us," Edison Coach Cameron Griffin said of Friday's setback. "Our at-bats will need to be more competitive against Los Alamitos."
•Marina split two games last week against Los Alamitos.
Coach Bob Marshall said the Vikings had their "pitching, fielding and hitting all in sync," during a 5-1 win April 23 at Los Al. Austin Moore threw six innings for the win and had an "outstanding game," Marshall said.
James Ryan pitched the seventh to close game.
Garret Malter doubled twice and Landon Marshall scored two runs for Marina.
The Vikings managed only one hit, a single by Jared Harmon, and "could not get it together, Bob Marshall said, in an 8-0 loss Friday to the Griffins.
Despite the loss, Marina, which brought 2-7 league and 7-11 overall records into the week, took the league series from Los Al, 2-1.
The Vikings won the series opener between the teams, 2-0, March 26.
"The boys are playing hard but just lack that experience and fight to get over the hill," Bob Marshall said. "We have Huntington Beach next, and we will keep pushing forward."
Sunset teams played Wednesday. Scores from those games weren't available at press time.
•Ocean View completed a three-game sweep of Santa Ana in Golden West League play by winning its final two games against the Saints.
The Seahawks improved to 5-4 in league (tied for third place) and 12-8 overall Friday by scoring a 6-2 home win. Jett Volo had two hits, Gabe Ledezma tripled and Bobby Evans, Steven Cotton and Braydon Salzman all doubled. Salzman (3-3) also took the pitching win with 12 strikeouts and limited the Saints to only three hits in seven innings.
"I give credit to Santa Ana and their coach, Henry Buenrostro," Ocean View Coach Shane Borowski said. "They are playing well, throwing strikes, making plays, and doing little things to be competitive. Whenever that happens, you have a dogfight. We definitely got caught up in one in this game and fortunately for us, we have lots of experience in close games. Chasing a run late in the game is nothing new to us, and our kids handle those situations well. It would be nice to get a big lead and hold it, of course, but in baseball anything goes when both teams are playing catch and throwing strikes.
"I'm really proud of how Braydon [Salzman] threw [Friday]. He was nearly un-hittable. Twelve strikeouts really takes the pressure off your defense."
Salzman previously hit an RBI double in the top of the seventh of an April 23 game at Santa Ana which broke a tie score and gave Ocean View a 2-1 victory. Dustin Fisher had an RBI and Volo again had two hits. Cotton (3-1) who came on in the fifth in relief of Fisher, took the win. Both gave up three hits and struck out three.
Ocean View took on Segerstrom in league play Wednesday. The score wasn't available at press time.
In Sunset games at 3:15 p.m. Friday, Fountain Valley is at Newport Harbor, Huntington entertains Marina, and Edison plays host to Los Alamitos.
Ocean View closes out its Golden West League series against Segerstrom at 3:15 p.m. Friday at Segerstrom.
CIF Weekly Rankings
Fountain Valley (No. 3, Division 1); Huntington Beach (No. 5, Division 1).