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KEVIN SULLIVAN , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Dana Hills' Marrick Crouse pitches against Tesoro during the Dolphins' 2-0 victory Friday at Dana Hills High.

Dana Hills' Crouse dominates 2-0 win over Tesoro

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

DANA POINT - Dana Hills starting pitcher Marrick Crouse fired seven shutout innings and flirted with a no-hitter to lead the third-ranked Dolphins to a 2-0 win over Tesoro in a South Coast League opener Friday at Dana Hills High.

Crouse lost the no-hitter on an infield single with one out in the seventh inning by Jordan Martini. The hard-throwing senior retired 18 of the first 19 batters he faced and struck out nine.

“He’s a workhorse,” Dana Hills coach Tom Faris said. “He got them out with his fastball. He only threw probably five or six really good curveballs. He was up with his off-speed pitches a little bit, but he hit his outside fastballs, and managed to get them out with that.”

Crouse (4-0) was able to stay in rhythm throughout the afternoon by staying ahead in the count. He spotted his mid-90s fastball on both sides of the plate and kept hitters off balanced.

“I can throw anything I want (when ahead in the count),” Crouse said. “I’m not forced to throw a fastball in certain counts, so hitters don’t really know what’s coming.”

Crouse, who has signed with the University of San Francisco, also went 2 for 2 at the plate and reached base on a walk.

The game was scoreless heading into the bottom of the fifth inning when Jackson Zoch hit a solo home run to left field.

Dana Hills (9-1, 1-0) added another run later in the inning on a two-out single by Jay Schuyler that scored Luke Williams.

Zoch’s home run snapped a streak of 10 batters retired by Martini, who matched Crouse pitch-for-pitch until that point. In addition to breaking up Crouse’s no-hitter, Martini threw five innings for Tesoro (7-3, 0-1) and allowed five hits with three strikeouts.

“That kid’s really good,” Faris said. “He’s throwing four pitches for strikes in all counts, and he really kept us off balance. He’s going to be tough to beat in this league.”

After Crouse allowed the single in the seventh, he issued a two-out walk that put the tying run on base. He induced a shallow fly ball to left field to escape the jam and finish the shutout.

“I think he was thinking a little bit too much because he was sitting on a no-hitter,” Faris said. “Once the hit was given up, he had to regroup a little bit.”


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