Los Alamitos moves closer to Sunset title
LOS ALAMITOS — There might not be a better baseball league from top to bottom in the county, or at least not a more competitive one, than the Sunset League.
Four different teams have been in first place in the past two weeks, the quartet separated by just three games heading into the final week of the regular season. Fifth-place Fountain Valley is 10-1 against nonleague opponents.
"The Sunset League is a buzz saw," Los Alamitos coach Matt Nuez said.
That could be what other Sunset coaches are saying about the Griffins. Los Alamitos notched its eighth consecutive league victory Friday with a 10-1 rout of Fountain Valley at Los Alamitos.
The No. 8 Griffins (17-6, 10-3), who hold a one-game lead over Marina, have won four consecutive two-game series. They close out the season next week with a home-and-home series with Edison, which is two games behind.
Los Alamitos senior Michael Farris took the mound against the Barons (13-11, 3-10) in place of a sick Jacob Nix and won his fourth start of the season. Farris struck out six while giving up four hits and one run over 5 2/3 innings. He also scored the game’s opening run after doubling in the first inning.
“Our whole mantra has been, 'Who’s the next hero?' " Nuez said. “It’s always team wins. We all work hard to be that guy. Today it was Michael Farris.”
Los Alamitos had six extra-base hits, including a double and triple form shortstop Frank Padulo. First baseman Cody Marshall went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and designated hitter Daniel Austin went 2 for 3 with two RBIs.
The Griffins scored at least one run and had multiple hits in five of the six innings they came to bat.
“We’re strong right now because we’ve maintained that weight room all the time,” Nuez said. “The bat feels as light as it did back in January.”
Los Alamitos is just one league victory or Marina defeat from clinching the Sunset’s top seed. Nuez said the significance of that is not necessarily in earning a more favorable draw.
“If you make the playoffs, it’s all quality baseball,” Nuez said. “That 1-seed is momentum. You’re finishing the season strong and you’re rewarded at home. It’s a little bit of confidence and a little bit of momentum.”