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No. 1 JSerra takes two from Huntington Beach
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Heading into the season, top-ranked JSerra had no shortage of weapons or experience, and everyone in the team’s lineup factored into the Lions’ sweep of No. 6 Huntington Beach in a nonleague doubleheader Tuesday at JSerra High.
Christian Molfetta and Royce Lewis led the way in Game 1, driving in two runs each as the Lions defeated Huntington Beach, 8-3.
In Game 2, the Lions fell behind but came through with some clutch hitting from several players, including Chase Strumpf, Jake Pries and Davis Wendzel, to pull out a come-from-behind victory, 5-2.
“When we execute, we’re pretty good,” Pries said. “I thought we hit pretty well. We all want to be the hero out there, and I think that’s helped us to our start.”
Oilers starting pitcher Mitch Kovary kept the Lions (4-0) at bay for a while in Game 2, and Cooper Moore gave Huntington Beach (2-4) a 2-0 lead with his double in the first inning. Strumpf led off the fourth with a triple and Pries knocked him in with a single to tie the score at 2-2.
One inning later, Pries knocked in Jack Owen for the go-ahead run and Wendzel followed with a base hit to right field to drive in two runs and give the Lions a 5-2 lead.
JSerra also received a boost from its relief pitching. Collin Quinn pitched five innings in relief of Quentin Longrie in the first game, holding the Oilers to two runs on three hits while striking out four.
After falling behind, 1-0, in the opener, the Lions got to Oilers starter Hagen Danner in the second and third innings for seven runs.
Lewis plated two with a single and later came around in the second inning on a pair of wild pitches. Molfetta’s big hit was part of a four-run third inning.
Lyle Lin closed out Game 2 to earn his first win of the season. Lin allowed one hit and struck out a pair over the final 21/3 innings for JSerra.
“Collin pitched his butt off. I thought he came in and threw really well,” Lions coach Brett Kay said. “We started out of character in the second game, but this is a veteran team, they don’t panic.”
The Oilers saw their first three batters reach base in Game 2 against Lions starter Ryan Lefner. Chad Minato was hit by a pitch and Tim Murray reached on a throwing error to second base by Lewis before both were brought home on a double by Moore.
Lefner pitched four innings, allowing two runs, but didn’t factor into the decision.
Oilers coach Benji Medure said there were positives for the Oilers to take into their Sunset League opener against Edison on Thursday at Angel Stadium (7 p.m.).
“I’ll take that effort. I liked the effort in the second game and we can build off that loss,” Medure said. “They’re a good team, and despite the loss, I think we’re heading out with a little shot of confidence in knowing we’re on the right track.”