Beckman's Zach Espinosa throws a strike against Mission Viejo during the championships of the Newport Elks Tournament Friday afternoon, March 10, 2017. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

Fryer on baseball: Beckman, Los Alamitos off to strong starts


Beckman and Los Alamitos won Orange County's two big season-opening baseball tournament championships.

Beckman was victorious in the Newport Elks Tournament’s Lerner Division, annually the top group of the multi-division tournament. The Patriots defeated Mission Viejo, 1-0, in nine innings in the championship game Friday.

Los Alamitos won the Loara Tournament. The Griffins beat Edison, 11-8, in the championship game Saturday.

Four of Beckman’s five Elks tournament wins were one-run games. Overall, the Patriots are 5-1 in one-run games.

Beckman coach Kevin Lavalle said being in one-run games are great for the development of teams and players, especially when those one-run games are being won.

“What could be a better situation to teach from?” Lavalle asked.

Beckman third baseman Willie Lajoie was Lerner Division MVP after going 6 for 11 in the tournament. Lavalle said junior shortstop Matt McLain and senior left-handed pitcher Will Cohen performed well, as did senior right-hander Zach Espinosa who is the Register's baseball athlete of the week.

Los Alamitos averaged seven a runs a game in the Loara Tournament.

Will Laws, a junior who pitches and plays third base and first base, was tournament MVP. Laws pitched a shutout in a 1-0 win over La Mirada. Laws also added a few clutch hits.

Los Alamitos coach Matt Nuez said junior catcher Casey Buckley, senior pitcher Garrett Rennie, senior first baseman Mark Stanford and senior outfielder/designated hitter Mike Townsend also played well during the tournament.

Nuez said this season’s Griffins are different than others Nuez has coached at Los Alamitos.

“It’s an uncommon team,” Nuez said. “No stars, just a bunch of grinders who believe in each other.”

Around the horn in Orange County baseball:

•Huntington Beach is No. 1 in the CIF-SS Division 1 top 10 for the second week in a row. Other O.C. teams in the Division 1 top 10: No. 5 Los Alamitos, No. 6 Mission Viejo, No. 7 Mater Dei, No. 8 Orange Lutheran, No. 9 Servite and No. 10 Foothill. The CIF-SS Baseball Advisory Committee, made up mostly of coaches, selects the CIF-SS baseball top 10 in seven divisions.

•Beckman is No. 1 this week in Division 2 after being No. 10 last week. O.C. teams occupy positions 2-4 in the Division 5 rankings in which Katella is No. 2, Sunny Hills is No. 3 and Century is No. 4.

•Several leagues begin league play this week. The week’s top games (all 3 p.m. unless noted): Tuesday, Newport Harbor vs. Corona del Mar (nonleague doubleheader), at UC Irvine, 4 and 7 p.m.; Wednesday, El Dorado at Canyon (nonleague), Trabuco Hills at Dana Hills (Sea View League); and Foothill at Villa Park (nonleague); Friday, Aliso Niguel at Capistrano Valley (South Coast League), San Clemente at El Toro (South Coast League), Edison at Fountain Valley (Sunset League), and Los Alamitos at Huntington Beach (Sunset League).

•Mission Viejo senior pitcher Tanner Bibee, who signed with Cal State Fullerton, is among the CIF-Southern Section strikeout leaders with 28 in 21 innings. La Quinta senior Manny Ramirez has 25 strikeouts and Sage Hill junior Brett Super has 23 strikeouts in 21 innings. Super’s teammate, sophomore Ashwin Chona, has 20 strikeouts in 16 innings.

•El Dorado’s Kyle Luckham hit three home runs and drove in 12 runs over five Loara Tournament games.

•In the Newport Elks Tournament’s other divisions, Roosevelt of Eastvale won the Foothill Division, Hemet won the Costa Mesa Division, Crean Lutheran won the Orange County Division and Cerritos won the Orange County White Division. Crean’s Louie Kim was MVP of the Orange County Division.

•In last week’s California top 20 compiled by, Huntington Beach was No. 4, Orange Lutheran was No. 9, Mater Dei was No. 12 and JSerra was No. 16. CalHiSports updates its baseball top 20 on Thursdays.

•Upcoming tournaments: Anaheim Lions Tournament, begins March 24; National Classic, April 10; and Boras Classic, April 18.

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