Beckman strikes early, tightens grip on first place


NEWPORT BEACH – Beckman’s baseball team is used to competing for league championships. The Patriots have won five of the last six Pacific Coast League titles.

That experience seemed to put the Patriots at ease Tuesday as they lined up to face the team, Corona del Mar, threatening to disrupt their hold on the league.

Austin Schell and Chase Ellett had run-scoring singles during a three-run first inning, and Beckman went on to beat the Sea Kings, 7-2, at Corona del Mar High.

“We got on the fastball, got on him (CdM starter Evan Larsen) early, and took off from there,” Ellett said.

With the win, Beckman (15-8, 9-3) strengthened its hold on first place with three league games remaining. The Patriots have won their first two league games against second-place Corona del Mar (15-8, 7-5). The teams meet again Friday at Beckman.

“It’s awesome,” Beckman starter Blake Polley said of his team extending its lead in the standings. “This is a fun team to play for. I have a really good defense behind me.”

Polley (2-0) had spent most of this season in the bullpen. The senior fired a shutout in a spot start against Irvine last week, and he was nearly as effective Tuesday. He allowed just two unearned runs.

“We were looking for some consistency with that No. 2 spot, and he came out and threw a complete-game shutout (against Irvine),” Patriots coach Kevin Lavalle said. There was no doubt who we were going to throw today.

“Blake proved a lot to me last week, and he reaffirmed it today. I think he’s pretty set in our No. 2 spot now.”

Corona del Mar scored a pair of runs in the fifth when Teddy Stuka’s groundball got under the glove of second baseman Matt McLain.

After the first inning, Larsen kept the Patriots off the scoreboard for the next five innings. He struck out five.

The score remained 3-2 until the seventh. Larsen loaded the bases before hitting Ellett to bring in a run. Jake Groves followed with a bases-clearing double.

In the Academy League:

Sage Hill 12, Whitney of Cerritos 0: Sophomore Brett Super pitched a perfect game for the Lightning (16-6, 11-0).

In the Trinity League:

Mater Dei 5, St. John Bosco 4: The Monarchs (14-11, 4-6) scored all of their runs in the second with the aid of two errors by the Braves (3-7 in league).

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