Fryer: Slow starts a distant memory for CIF champs


It is frequently said in sports.

“It’s not how you start, but it’s where you finish.”

Take a look at Orange County’s CIF baseball champions, Huntington Beach and Mission Viejo.

Huntington Beach lost five of its first seven games this season. The Oilers would win the CIF-SS Division 1 championship.

Mission Viejo lost two of its first three games. The Diablos won the CIF-SS Division 2 championship.

Not the greatest of starts for either one, but the greatest of finishes.

Around the horn in Orange County baseball:

• Huntington Beach senior right-handed pitcher Noah Davis, the baseball athlete of the week, was 18-3 over his junior and senior years.

• Davis had his fastball consistently in the 90-92 mph range, according to the board on the left-center field fence. He noticed. “I’ll admit I checked it out a couple of times,” Davis said. “But I tried not to focus on it.”

• Mission Viejo won a CIF baseball championship in 2011 with a star-studded team. This year’s Diablos CIF champs did not have as many big-time prospects but had big-time personality. “This was the best group of kids I’ve coached,” Mission Viejo coach Chris Ashbach said. “They played as a team unselfishly.”

• Combined attendance for the four CIF-SS championship games Saturday at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino was 4,872.

• Huntington Beach will have a good nucleus of players returning, barring outgoing transfers. Among the non-seniors on this year’s team were junior third-baseman/pitcher Logan Pouelsen, junior outfielders Dominic Abbadessa and Landon Silver, junior shortstop Chad Minato and pitcher Hagen Danner. Winning programs sometimes attract transfers, so there could be some additions to the Huntington Beach roster.

• Mission Viejo was more senior-led than Huntington Beach so the Diablos don’t have a large number of expected returnees for 2016. Diablos sophomore pitcher Tanner Bibbee was great during the CIF playoffs, getting three wins during the five-game run to the championship.

• The Senior Baseball Showcase, a four-game all-star event for senior players, is Friday and Saturday at Windrow Park in Irvine. On Friday, the Pacific Coast League plays the Freeway League at 4:30 p.m. and the Empire League plays the South Coast League at 7:30 p.m. with a home-run contest in between. On Saturday, the Century Conference (Crestview and North Hills leagues) plays the Sea View League at 1:30 p.m. and the Trinity League plays the Sunset League at 4:30 p.m. with a home-run contest in between.

• The Senior Showcase is a fundraiser, so $5 admission will be charged.

• The Register and OC Varsity All-County team will be at Friday evening and in the OC Varsity section Saturday with the Saturday newspaper. There will be a pitcher of the year, a player of the year and a coach of the year, and first, second and third teams. All-league teams will be published, too.

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