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Fountain Valley wins heated, highlight-filled game
HUNTINGTON BEACH – It’s a unique baseball when a game-winning grand slam almost gets upstaged.
Fountain Valley senior third baseman Pierson Loska hit a third-inning, bases-loaded home run off Huntington Beach ace Noah Davis to lead the seventh-ranked Barons to a 7-4 win Friday, snapping the No. 2 Oilers’ nine-game winning streak and putting the Barons a win away from clinching a CIF-SS playoff spot.
But the Sunset League showdown had two major, controversial subplots.
Trailing 4-2 with two runners in scoring position and two outs in the fifth, Oilers outfielder Dominic Abbadessa lined what looked like a game-tying single. Fountain Valley left-fielder Willie Aguilar seemed to short hop the ball but came up with his arm in the air, and the base umpire ruled it a catch.
“He short-hopped it,” Oilers coach Benji Medure, who was in the third base coaching box and probably had the clearest view, said afterwards. “But umpires are human. We didn’t lose the game because of that call.”
“It was hard to see from my angle,” Fountain Valley coach Deric Yanagisawa said. “It looked like a catch, but it’s easy to say that when you’re on the winning end.”
The intensity of the game spilled over in the seventh. Batting after Oilers pitcher Logan Pouelsen’s rising fastball clipped the helmet of J.T. Navarro, Aguilar followed with a two-run home run to make it 7-2.
Aguilar exchanged words with Oilers catcher Tyler Murray after crossing the plate, leading both benches to empty, some shoving and a fan running onto the field. Aguilar, who made two excellent defensive plays earlier in the game, was ejected for his comments that sparked the incident.
Huntington Beach (18-9, 10-2 in league play) remains comfortably atop the league while Fountain Valley (20-8, 8-5) moved closer to clinching second place and a playoff spot.
Loska’s home run was one pitch after he fouled a ball off the plate that hit him in the eye.
“I hit the ball off the tip of my bat and it caught me in the face,” Loska said. “I was just trying to focus. I was looking for an offspeed pitch and I got a fastball over the plate.”
“He’s a first-year varsity player as a senior and one of the guys who have really stepped up the second half of the season,” Yanagisawa said. “He probably has as much potential as anyone on the team.”
The Oilers’ Cooper Moore tripled and hit a solo home run in the fourth, and Kyle Coburn hit a two-run home run in the seventh.
The Oilers play Los Alamitos on Saturday and finish the season with two games next week against Marina. The Barons finish with two games next week against Newport Harbor.
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