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Huntington Beach's Nick Pratto is met by teammate Hagen Danner for a high-five afer Pratto scored at Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach on Friday, March 17, 2017. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Huntington Beach hits five homers in rout of Los Alamitos

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

HUNTINGTON BEACH - Huntington Beach met little resistance in its Sunset League baseball opener Friday, routing Los Alamitos, 9-0, at Huntington Beach High with the help of five home runs.

Huntington Beach (7-0, 1-0) and Los Alamitos (7-2, 1-0) entered the game No. 1 and No. 4, respectively, in the Register's Orange County rankings. But what looked to be the Huntington Beach's stiffest opponent yet turned into the Oilers' most decisive victory of the year.

Senior Hagen Danner pitched four scoreless innings and struck out seven. He also got the Oilers offense started with a two-run home run in the first.

Huntington Beach coach Benji Medure said his team had struggled in the past against Griffins senior starter Michael Townsend.

“In 2015 he threw a (one-run) complete game,” Medure said. “He came on in relief last year and just made us look silly.”

That was not the case Friday. Townsend gave up six earned runs in four innings on nine hits and one walk, while he also struck out two.

“For Hagen (Danner) to get that homer in the first kind of got us going,” Medure said. “Our goal was to start fast today ... and put pressure on their bats.”

The height of Townsend's struggles came in a three-run fourth inning in which he gave up five straight hits including two home runs, a double and a triple.

Los Alamitos coach Matt Nuez let Townsend finish out the inning, which ended when a shot from Danner was caught against the wall in center by senior Michael Magana.

“He's our No. 1 guy,” Nuez said of Townsend. “He’s been successful all year long. Leave him in and let him get after it. ... There was no decision to go to anybody else at that point. You just tip your hat to a really good offensive team.”

Oilers senior first baseman Nick Pratto made the biggest splash in the box score with two home runs, a double and drove in four runs. Senior center fielder Ben McConnell fell a single short of the cycle, and senior left fielder Cory Moore hit an opposite-field home run to left and scored all three times he came up.

The Griffins wore green St. Patrick's Day hats for the game. Nuez said it was just the second time in his tenure that the team played on March 17 and could utilize the hats.

“We were hoping (for) maybe a little luck of the Irish against a very, very good baseball team,” he added. “That's all right. We'll wake up, and we'll get after it.”


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