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JSerra's Quinn does his thing, beats Crouse, Dana Hills
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – The bleachers were packed 15 minutes before first pitch Friday afternoon at JSerra for the Lions’ first-round CIF-SS Division 1 baseball playoff game against Dana Hills.
“It’s like a freaking seventh game of the World Series,” one fan commented.
This game’s hype and the ensuing overflow crowd each had merit. Undefeated JSerra ace Collin Quinn was starting opposite Dolphins standout Hans Crouse, who entered the game with a 0.94 ERA.
Quinn bested Crouse and pitched a complete game as JSerra beat Dana Hills, 3-0.
He finished with seven strikeouts and six hits allowed.
“He’s the best pitcher in Southern California right now,” Lions coach Brett Kay said. “I don’t care if he’s throwing 72 (mph) or if he’s throwing 102 (mph). He just beat a really good pitcher and there’s a reason he’s 11-0 – because he’s the best pitcher in Southern California right now.”
JSerra, the Trinity League champs, will play host to Loyola of Los Angeles on Tuesday. Loyola beat Agoura, 6-3, on Friday.
Crouse allowed three earned runs on four hits, three walks, a hit batter and five strikeouts.
The Dolphins junior sped through two innings and the first two outs of the third before Royce Lewis smacked a single under the glove of second baseman Jordan Matthews.
After walking Brady Shockey, Crouse made his first mistake to the next batter, Chase Strumpf, who walloped a 3-2 breaking ball over the left-center field fence for a three-run shot.
“Big-time players make big-time plays,” Kay said of the UCLA-bound shortstop. “ … I mean, that at-bat Chase had, down 1-2, fight off (a pitch), fight off (a pitch). (Crouse) is throwing 97, 99 and he throws a 3-2 breaking ball and Chase does what big-time players do.”
That homer was all JSerra (25-6) needed behind Quinn’s arm.
Dana Hills (14-17) threatened early, putting runners on second and third with two outs before Lewis made a sparkling diving play at third to rob Shawn Kany of an RBI single.
Lewis again rescued Quinn in the fourth when he stepped on third and fired to first for a double play to yank JSerra out of a runners-on-first-and-second jam.
“You’ve got to take advantage of those opportunities,” said Dolphins Tom Faris, whose team finished third in the South Coast League. “We couldn’t get those clutch hits again.”