Fryer on baseball: Buena Park getting stronger


Buena Park’s football resurgence began a few years ago. The Coyotes advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Southwest Division semifinals the past two seasons.

Buena Park’s boys basketball team, after many difficult years, advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA semifinals this season and finished 23-8. It was the first semifinals appearance for Coyotes since 1959.

The school’s baseball team last week won the Orange County Division of the Newport Elks Tournament. The Coyotes are 5-2.

“It’s a culture change here,” said Buena Park baseball coach Alvin Graham. “For years, kids wanted to leave here to go someplace else they thought was better. Guys now are buying into our systems and they’re staying.”

Among them is Louie Crow, a 6-foot-3 senior right-handed pitcher/utility player. Graham would have nominated Crow for the Orange County Division’s tournament MVP if the division had an MVP.

Crow is 1-0 with no runs allowed and 21 strikeouts in 13 innings. He has five hits and two home runs with nine RBI in 13 at-bats. Crow also has walked five times.

Nereo Rios, a junior outfielder, has eight hits in 16 at-bats and six stolen bases. Junior pitcher/utility player Bryant Durflinger is 1-0 on the mound and has seven hits in 17 at-bats. Junior pitcher Alex Rodriguez is 2-0 with one earned run allowed in 14 innings.

“We’re a small-ball team,” Graham said. “Louie is our only guy who’ll hit home runs. So we’ll play small ball, hit-and-run and steal bases.”

Buena Park started five sophomores and one freshman last season when it went 6-21.

“We took our lumps, but we were competitive,” Graham said. “Now, our attitude here is to not just play games, but it’s to win games.”

Around the horn in Orange County baseball:

• El Dorado’s 2-4 record is deceiving. The Golden Hawks lost to Dana Hills (by one run in eight innings), Los Alamitos, San Clemente and Cypress. Of those four, the only team not in the county season-opening top 10 was San Clemente.

• Woodbridge is 5-2. The Warriors have wins over Dana Hills and Bishop Amat of La Puente, and their losses are to Cypress and San Clemente.

• Huntington Beach was the No. 1-ranked team in O.C. and California, and in some national rankings, too, to start the season. The Oilers were 2-2 after their first four games. They split a doubleheader with Aliso Niguel, beat Riverside Poly and lost to Orange Lutheran.

• JSerra won the Lerner Division, the elite division of the Newport Elks Tournament. The Lions, No. 2 in the county season-opening rankings, started 5-0 and moved up to No. 1 in the county this week, the first week of the Register’s O.C. media poll.

• JSerra also is No. 1 in this week’s CIF-SS Division 1 rankings. Other county teams in the Division 1 top 10: No. 2 Orange Lutheran, No. 3 Huntington Beach, No. 5 El Toro, No. 6 Cypress and No. 10 Tesoro. Beckman is No. 2 in Division 3.

• After losing to eventual tournament champion El Toro in the semifinals, Cypress beat Lakewood, 8-0, in the Loara Tournament third-place game.

• Santa Margarita was the Loara Tournament’s consolation champion. The Eagles (4-1) defeated Canyon, 8-3, in the consolation final.

• San Clemente (4-2) defeated Servite, 6-0, in the Loara Tournament fifth-place game.

• Sage Hill’s Conner Bock has 12 RBI. The Lighting, No. 1 in Division 6, is 7-1.

Frankie Islas of El Modena and Whittier Christian’s Trevor McGee are off to strong starts. They have 10 RBI apiece.

• Orange senior pitcher Matthew Gibson has 19 strikeouts in 19 innings. He is 2-0 for the Panthers (4-2).

• There are some excellent league and nonleague matchups on this week’s schedule. On Wednesday, Foothill is at Villa Park in the North Hills League, El Dorado is at Esperanza in the Crestview League (a rivalry that’s been hot since long before the current players were born), and JSerra plays St. John Bosco in a Trinity League game at Angel Stadium. On Friday, Aliso Niguel is at El Toro and Dana Hills is at Tesoro in South Coast League games, San Clemente is at Trabuco Hills in the Sea View League, Corona del Mar plays Woodbridge in a Pacific Coast League game at Windrow Park in Irvine, and Cypress is at Mater Dei in a nonleague game at 6 p.m.

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