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Roundup: Tustin stays hot, knocks off Kennedy
Tustin beat Kennedy, 5-1, Wednesday to solidify its chances of winning a playoff berth while damaging Kennedy’s shot at the Empire League championship.
Cole Hoskins pitched a three-hitter for the Tillers. He allowed no earned runs and one walk, and had four strikeouts. Anthony Walters hit a two-run home run.
Tustin is in third place in the Empire League with a 5-2 league record. The Tillers (16-11 overall) have a two-game lead over fourth-place Pacifica (3-4), which Tustin plays twice next week.
Kennedy lost in league for the first time. The Fighting Irish are in second place with a 6-1 league record. They trail league-leading Cypress (7-0), which Kennedy plays twice next week, by one game.
Only the top three finishers in the six-team Empire League will go to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs. Empire League teams will play in the Division 1 playoffs.
The Tillers’ two league losses were to Cypress three weeks ago. Both were one-run losses, 8-7 and 1-0.
“Those games were very hard for us,” said Hoskins, a senior right-hander who is 3-2 with a 1.84 ERA. “But they were good learning experiences. Since then, I think we’ve gotten better every single week.”
Wednesday’s win was the Tillers’ sixth in a row since the Cypress games.
Senior shortstop Anthony Walters, who signed with Cal, hit a two-run homer. He has hit Tustin’s only two home runs this season.
Tustin senior center fielder Dailin Lee, a UC Irvine signee, had three hits. Senior designated hitter David Bohorquez had three hits and an RBI. Redlands signee Blake Akins, a senior first baseman, and senior right fielder Myles Thompson had two hits and an RBI apiece.
The Tillers took a 2-0 in the third inning. Akins drove in the first run with a single, and Bohorquez drove in the second run with a double.
Kennedy (17-7) scored its run in the bottom half of the third when Jarett Velez reached on an infield single and eventually scored on an error.
Walters’ two-run home run, to left field, made it 4-1. The Tillers got their fifth run in the fifth inning on Thompson’s RBI single.
Four of Tustin’s losses are to teams in the Orange County top 10. They lost nonleague games to No. 1 JSerra and to No. 2 Orange Lutheran, and the two league losses to No. 4 Cypress.
Tustin assistant coach Mike Cosgrove, in charge of the team Wednesday because Coach Charles Chatman was ejected in the previous game and thus ineligible to coach Wednesday, said those losses discouraged the Tillers unnecessarily.
“Being kids,” Cosgrove said, “they think they’re getting beat and they’re not good enough. But they’re a very talented group of kids and it shows.”
Also in the Empire League:
No. 4 Cypress 9, Valencia 3: Dominic Fletcher drove in two runs and Raul Salazar pitched a complete game for the league-leading Centurions (20-6, 7-0).
Pacifica 9, Western 3: Sean Geer’s two RBI led the visiting Mariners (13-13-1, 3-4).
In the Crestview League:
Esperanza 9, El Modena 3: Hayden Nix and Steven Rodriguez had two RBI each for the host Aztecs (16-9, 7-2), who are tied for first place with El Dorado.
In the Freeway League:
Troy 3, Buena Park 2: The Warriors (18-6, 9-1) captured the league title for the first time in 10 years.
In the Sea View League:
Trabuco Hills 3, San Juan Hills 2: Cooper Uhl drove in the winning run in the seventh inning for the host Mustangs (13-13, 7-4). Uhl also hit a two-run home run.
In the South Coast League:
No. 3 El Toro, No. 7 Tesoro 1: Noah Fluman pitched a two-hitter and Austin Green had two RBI for the league-leading Chargers (20-5, 7-2).
Capistrano Valley 4, Dana Hills 1: Mitchell Nickovich homered and knocked in two runs for the visiting Cougars (13-15, 2-8).
In the Sunset League:
No. 6 Marina 2, Newport Harbor 1: Jared Minor pitched a complete game with nine strikeouts for the league-leading Vikings (17-8, 9-3).
No. 10 Huntington Beach 3, Los Alamitos 2: The Oilers (17-9, 7-5) got a critical win to strengthen their chances for earning a playoff berth.
In the Trinity League:
Servite 1, No. 9 Santa Margarita 0: Nick Cornelius pitched a shutout for the host Friars (16-10, 5-6).
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