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Goddard's shutout gives Laguna Beach first title
SAN BERNARDINO – Ashton Goddard’s first pitch of the game hit the leadoff hitter.
From there, though, Goddard was outstanding. He pitched a five-hit shutout Saturday for Laguna Beach in the Breakers’ 2-0 win over Kaiser of Fontana in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 championship baseball game at San Manuel Stadium.
It is the first CIF-SS baseball championship in the history of Laguna Beach, which opened in 1934. Saturday’s game was the school’s first CIF-SS baseball finals appearance.
The Breakers (20-12) scored a run in the bottom of the first inning and another in the fifth when Zak Kovacic stole home.
Goddard (5-2), a junior right-hander who committed to Utah, struck out four and walked two. He has dealt with arm soreness much of the season because of an ulnar nerve problem in his pitching arm.
About that first pitch …
“As soon as I got on the mound,” Goddard said, “the adrenaline pumped in, and I was just a little too hyped on that first pitch.”
And then …
“I think in the middle and through the end of the game I had pretty much everything under control,” Goddard said.
After the second inning, only three of the next 17 Kaiser batters reached base. Goddard impressed Kaiser coach Mike Spinuzzi.
“He was able to change speeds on us,” Spinuzzi said. “That kid did a good job.”
Kaiser (27-4) was the second-seeded team in the division.
Laguna Beach, champion of the Orange Coast League, won some close games in the playoffs, including extra-inning, one-run victories over St. Bonaventure of Ventura in the semifinals and California of Whittier in the quarterfinals.
Laguna Beach took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. With one out, Connor Basile singled up the middle. Dustin Angus then pulled a hard-hit ground ball that struck third base and bounced down the line for a double that sent Basile to third.
Will McInerny followed with a ground ball to Kaiser shortstop Oscar Rocha who threw home, but Basile slid across the plate before the ball arrived.
The score remained 1-0 until Laguna Beach scored its other run in the fifth. Kovicic walked, advanced to second base on Alex Baker’s sacrifice bunt and took third on Connor Coscino’s groundout to second base. On a 1-2 count with right handed-hitting Jack Simon up, Kovicic, who had established a huge lead with the Kaiser third baseman well off of the bag, charged for the plate as Kaiser left-handed pitcher Armando Duenas went into his windup.
The pitch was high and arrived to Kaiser catcher Leonardo Rodriguez just as Kovicic went into his slide.
Laguna Beach coach Mike Bair had the Breakers prepared for that opportunity.
“If their third baseman was in a certain position and if their pitcher was in his windup and moving slow,” Bair said, “then we were going to do it.”
“We were working on it every day this week,” Kovicic said. “I noticed their third baseman was playing pretty deep. I was just waiting for coach to call it.”
The Breakers also had practiced for the postgame, celebratory dogpile of players after the final out.
“We actually practiced the dogpile last year,” Bair said, and they had practiced it this year, too.
Laguna Beach put that practice to use Saturday, shaky start and all.
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