Silver connects in the clutch for Huntington Beach
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Huntington Beach outfielder Landon Silver had been struggling at the plate throughout the Boras Classic.
But after Santiago of Corona intentionally walked Hagen Danner to load the bases and get to Silver with a one-run lead, the senior picked the perfect time to break the slump.
He connected for a deep line drive to right-center that brought home Dominic Abbadessa and Chad Minato to give the second-ranked Oilers a 6-5 walk-off win Friday night in the ninth-place game at JSerra High.
Until that moment, Silver was 0 for 13 at the plate in the tournament, but Oilers coach Benji Medure said the team never lost faith in him.
“I’ve been struggling, but the guys are all supportive of one another, we all back each other up,” Silver said. “It turned out to be me, but it could have been any one of these guys in that situation.”
Medure and the Oilers players quickly silenced Silver when he attempted to apologize for the slump earlier in the week. His walk-off hit lifted Huntington Beach to a 3-1 record in the tournament; all three wins were by one run.
The Oilers (10-5) went into the bottom of the seventh inning down, 5-2, but Nick Lopez walked, JJ Muratore doubled down the right field line, and Abbadessa walked to load the bases with no outs.
Minato’s high chopper was misplayed by Santiago’s Ryan Williams at second, allowing two runs to score.
Three batters later, Silver was a hero, driving a pitch by Conrad Voss over the head of center fielder Kyle Csakan.
Huntington Beach allowed two runs to Santiago (8-6) in the first and single runs in the second and third innings to fall behind 4-1. Sharks catcher Jacob Shanks drove in two with a single in the first off Oilers starter Jack Furry.
Casey Dykstra added an RBI single in the third inning and Williams’ sacrifice fly in the sixth inning drove home Brice Turang to give Santiago a 5-2 lead.
“We gave them four out of five runs,” Medure said. “We gave 10 freebies tonight, so we have work to do. We have to be better now that we’re getting into the Sunset League where it really matters.”
Ben McConnell brought home Abbadessa in the first inning with a sacrifice fly and a throwing error by the Sharks allowed the Oilers’ second run to score in the third inning.
Nate Madole, who earned the win in the NHSI championship game last week, got the win for Huntington Beach after pitching 4 1/3 innings of relief.
“It’s a prerequisite for this team that you have to be tough,” Medure said. “(Madole) is a tough kid. He’s not afraid of anyone.”
Huntington Beach has another busy week ahead, with four Sunset League games on the schedule. The Oilers travel to Newport Harbor on Tuesday.