Ortiz provides spark as Pacifica stays hot in league opener


PLACENTIA - The Empire League is one of the last leagues in the county to start league play, but that seemed to suit Pacifica and its shortstop, Joey Ortiz, just fine.

Ortiz went 4 for 4, including a home run, with four RBI and two runs scored to spark Pacifica to a 7-4 victory over Valencia in the teams’ league opener Tuesday at Valencia High.

It was the fourth win in a row for the Mariners (9-9-1, 1-0).

“He is one of the best shortstops ... in Orange County,” Pacifica coach Mike Caira said of Ortiz.

Ortiz, a senior who has signed with New Mexico State, led off the game with a double and scored on a single by Sean Greer.

In the second, Ortiz drove in Josh Miranda and Anthony Reynoso, who led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Ortiz added a double, which scored Robert Santos, during a three-run third inning for Pacifica. He added a solo homer to right-center in the sixth.

Pacifica also got a solid performance from starting pitcher Troy Bethell, who tossed a complete game. He struck out three.

“Overall, he didn’t have his best stuff,” Caira said. “He wasn’t getting both pitches over. He found a way though by keeping them off balance.”

Valencia (9-8, 0-1) trailed, 6-0, after three innings, but got its offense going in the fourth.

Tanner Anderson led off the inning with a double, and he eventually scored on a single by Darrian Lopez. Cade Briggs scored on a fielder’s choice by Justin McHale.

The Mariners have nine league games left, but Caira is feeling optimistic about its chances.

“We are peaking at the right time,” Caira said.

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