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Marina topples No. 3 Huntington Beach for the third time
HUNTINGTON BEACH - Marina’s baseball team played the role of spoiler to the fullest on Friday.
Riley Ohl pitched six shutout innings and escaped a jam in the seventh on a controversial force out at second base as the unranked Vikings muddled Huntington Beach’s first game in its renovated stadium by posting a 2-1 victory.
Marina (13-6, 5-2) also completed an emotional, three-game sweep of the third-ranked Oilers to take sole possession of first place in the Sunset League.
“It’s phenomenal,” said Marina’s Tyler Abend, who had an RBI double and two assists on throws from right field. “Great field, too, and great team. We just had more heart to win this game.”
Ohl (4-3) took a 2-0 lead into the seventh, but Landon Silver drove his first offering of the inning to left-center for a line-drive homer.
A two-out, two-strike single by Ben McConnell was followed by an infield single from JJ Muratore and gave the Oilers (14-7, 4-3) hope of a rally. But Ohl induced leadoff batter Dominic Abbadessa to send a grounder to shortstop Griffin Hennessey, who narrowly beat a sliding Muratore to second base for the force out.
“This is a big deal for our program,” said Ohl, a 6-foot-7, Nevada-bound right-hander who struck out eight. “We’re not a joke anymore in league.”
After the final out, Marina’s players rushed Ohl in a wild celebration near the mound. Huntington Beach players emptied from their dugout and confronted the Vikings before the teams were separated.
“It was a high-intensity game,” Ohl said. “They didn’t want to lose on their new field. … It will blow over.”
Marina coach Robert Marshall said he “chewed” his players out for their premature celebration but praised his squad for its improved defense. Abend protected a 2-0 lead in the fifth by throwing out a runner at the plate for the second out on a single by Muratore.
Abend also threw out Nick Pratto trying to stretch a hit into a double with two outs in the first. Hennessey and Joseph Waked also made strong plays in the field.
“We win as a team,” Marshall said. “We could be 18-1. … We lost games on errors.”
Marina scored two runs with two outs in the fourth against Hagen Danner (2-3).Waked sparked Marina with a single and stolen base. He scored on Abend’s towering double off the fence. After catcher Tommy Verdugo drew a walk, No. 9 batter Eric Anderson (2 for 3) singled to center to score Abend.
“I thought he (Muratore) beat it,” Huntington Beach coach Benji Medure said of the final out. “We didn’t lose the game on that call. We lost the game by me sending the guy in the fifth inning and getting thrown out at the plate.”
Danner went the distance, allowing five hits and striking out nine.
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