Troy's PJ Gordon has been an important contributor this season, batting .370 and leading the team in runs (14). Troy leads the Freeway League with a 6-1 record.

Baseball notes: Troy uses its strengths to reach top in Freeway League


What you see is what you get with Troy baseball.

“We’re a young team, and we’re a small team,” Troy coach Dave Shirota said. “So we play to that. We’ll bunt, take the extra base when we can, and our pitchers throw strikes and don’t walk people.”

That style has worked for the Warriors. They are in first place in the Freeway League with a 6-1 league record.

“We knew going in we were going to win and lose a lot of 3-2, 4-2 games,” Shirota said. “We’ve been on the winning end of a lot of those games.”

Troy is 7-3 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

Three of the Warriors’ top contributors were not on the varsity team last year: Richard Canales, a senior left fielder, is batting .349 with a team-high 15 RBI; Dylan Lack, a junior first baseman, is batting .432 with a team-leading 19 hits; P.J. Gordon, a junior second baseman, is batting .370 and leading Troy in runs scored with 14.

The Warriors’ league loss was to Fullerton, which they play Wednesday and Friday this week. Troy beat perennial league-champion Sonora last month, and has two more league games against Sonora in two weeks.

After a rough start, Sonora is playing well, having won the Anaheim Lions Tournament championship before stringing together four straight league wins.

If Troy keeps playing the way it has been playing, maybe the Warriors will wind up at the top of the Freeway League standings.

“We don’t have any high-end superstars,” Shirota said. “Just a lot of good, solid baseball players who do all of the little things you need to do.”

Around the horn in Orange County baseball:

• Marina beat Huntington Beach twice last week to finish 3-0 in their three Sunset League games against the Oilers. “If I said at the start of the season that we’d go 3-0 against Huntington Beach, you would have locked me up in an insane asylum,” said Marina coach Bob Marshall. The Vikings have won eight in a row, including taking the Ryan Lemmon tournament championship, since a 3-1 league loss to Edison on March 22.

• Marina’s Riley Ohl, a 6-foot-7 senior right-hander who signed with Nevada, is 4-0 with three shutouts in Sunset League games. Sophomore righty Jared Minor is 4-0 including one of the Vikings’ two wins over Huntington Beach last week. Senior right fielder Tyler Abend threw out Huntington Beach players at second base and the plate in Friday’s game.

• The Trinity League is playing a three-league-games-a-week schedule, and Orange Lutheran coach Eric Borba loves it. “Baseball is a three-game series everywhere, in the majors and in college baseball,” Borba said. “There’s a lot more strategy – do we match our ace pitcher against the other team’s ace, do we bring in a left-handed pinch hitter to face their right-handed pitcher – so the league’s coaches are working harder than before.”

• Orange Lutheran is the highest-ranked county team in the’s California top 20, at No. 4, after a three-game league sweep of St. John Bosco last week. The Lancers over the next four weeks face, in order starting this week, Servite, JSerra, Mater Dei and Santa Margarita. “We’re 3-0 now, so if we go 6-6 over these last 12 games we’d be 9-6 in league and that should get us into the playoffs.”

• Lancers 6-7 senior lefty Chris Burica, a Creighton signee, is 5-0 with five complete games and one save in six appearanes. He has a 0.78 ERA.

• JSerra is No. 10 and El Toro is No. 17 in this week’s state top 20.’s “bubble” teams are Beckman, Huntington Beach, Marina, Santa Margarita and Servite.

• Orange Lutheran is No. 1 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 top 10 that has JSerra at No. 2, El Toro at No. 7 and Huntington Beach Beach, the preseason No. 1 team, at No. 10.

• The top two teams in Division 6 are county teams. Crean Lutheran is No. 1. Sage Hill is No. 2. Sage Hill has won 15 in a row and is 16-1 overall, 4-0 in the Academy League.

• In Division 2, Foothill is No. 5 and San Clemente is No. 7. In Division 3, Beckman is No. 3, Corona del Mar is No. 4 and Woodbridge is No. 7. Troy is No. 7 and Calvary Chapel is No. 8 in Division 4.

• Ocean View is 7-7 overall and 6-0 in the Golden West League.

• Godinez beat Laguna Beach, 7-2, last week to end Laguna Beach’s league winning streak at 53 games. That streak is a county record.

• Top games this week: Tuesday, Orange Lutheran at Servite, and Rancho Alamitos at Garden Grove; Wednesday, Mater Dei at JSerra, Mission Viejo at San Juan Hills, Aliso Niguel at Tesoro and Laguna Beach vs. Calvary Chapel at TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa; Thursday, Dana Hills at San Clemente nonleague (doubleheader); Friday, Fullerton at Troy.

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