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Aliso Niguel wins fight over Sea View title
SAN CLEMENTE - With the Aliso Niguel baseball team just two outs away from celebrating a Sea View League title on San Clemente's mound Thursday afternoon, it was important to Wolverines Coach Craig Hanson that starting pitcher Kyle Molnar be at the center of that dog pile.
Hanson's confidence in his sophomore ace never wavered, even as the Tritons mounted a rally to put runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh.
"As a freshman we gave him the ball at Dodger Stadium in the CIF championship game last year coming in in the 10th inning, so he's a very seasoned guy," said Hanson, whose team entered Thursday's league finale tied with San Clemente. "There's not a better guy I would want to give the ball to than him. I really wanted him to finish out the game."
Molnar retired the next two batters on a three-pitch strikeout and a soft fly ball to center field to put the finishing touch on a 3-0 shutout that clinched the Wolverines' first league crown since 2010.
Molnar, who allowed seven hits, struck out four and walked none, also had what would stand as the winning hit. He singled off Tritons starter Kolby Allard (three runs allowed on five hits over 6 2/3 innings) to drive in pinch runner Remmy Wasserbach with two outs in the top of the sixth inning for a 1-0 lead.
"It was very big," Molnar said of his clutch hit. "It feels great (to win league). I'm still shaking."
With the Tritons (22-8, 8-4) still down by just a run, Allard recorded the first two outs of the seventh on just three pitches, but then issued a walk to Blake Sabol, who would score for a 2-0 lead when next batter Austin Hudgins ripped a double inside the third-base line.
Justin Fowler's RBI single to center field two batters later would provide some key insurance for the Wolverines (19-11, 9-3) when San Clemente's Shane Elias-Calles reached on an error and Jake Terkoski followed with a double to right field in the bottom of the seventh.
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