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BILL ALKOFER , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Tesoro's Michael Vochelli is tagged out at second by Capistrano Valley's Jack Ortega during a South Coast League matchup on Friday.

Tesoro collects important victory over Capo Valley

STAFF WRITER

MISSION VIEJO - Tesoro made five errors and gave up three unearned runs but still won.

The Titans got good-enough pitching from Jordan Martini and Spencer Heinsius and Nolan Kraemer led the offense Friday in a 5-3 win over Capistrano Valley in a South Coast League baseball game at Capistrano Valley High.

Tesoro is in good shape to capture a playoff berth. The top three finishers in the five-team South Coast League are guaranteed berths in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

Aliso Niguel is in first place with a 6-4 league record. Tesoro is 5-5, and Capistrano Valley and Dana Hills are 4-4 each. El Toro, which Tesoro plays twice next week, is 3-5.

Tesoro is 18-7 overall. Capistrano Valley is 10-15-1.

Each league team plays 12 league games with three games against each league opponent. Capistrano Valley has four league games remaining, all against teams in the Orange County top 10, two against Dana Hills next week and two against Aliso Niguel the following week which is the final week of the regular season.

If Capistrano Valley does not conclude the season as the one the league’s top three finishers it could not qualify for an at-large berth because the Cougars would not have the .500-or-better overall record required for at-large berth consideration.

Kraemer, a senior shortstop who bats lead off, was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Martini pitched the first 52/3 innings, in which the Cougars scored their three unearned runs, and Heinsius shut them out over the final 11/3 innings.

Tesoro had beaten Capistrano Valley, 2-1, on Wednesday, too.

“This was a week we knew we had to have,” Tesoro coach Rick Brail said. “Our guys came out with good energy and got through some adversity.”

It was self-inflicted adversity from the five errors.

“That’s not typical of us,” Brail said. “We’ve been playing good defense this year. The good news is today our pitching bailed us out.”

Tesoro took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Lead-off batter Kraemer singled, advanced to second base when Spencer Krejci was hit by pitch, went to third on Brett Auerbach’s fly out to right field and scored on Heinsius’ squeeze bunt.

The Titans scored twice in the second inning. Martini and Zach King led off the inning with back-to-back singles. A wild pitch put Martini on second base and King on third, and Kraemer drove in both with a single up the middle to make it 3-0.

Capistrano Valley scored in the second inning on Austin Moreira’s single that drove in Jake Ortega. The Cougars trimmed the Tesoro lead to 3-2 in the fourth inning when Jordon Bocko scored on a double play. Tesoro errors in the second and fourth innings either kept innings alive or put Cougars in scoring position.

Two Tesoro errors in the fifth allowed Capistrano Valley to tie it, 3-3.

Tesoro score two runs in the sixth. Martini was hit by pitcher, took second base on Kraemer’s single and scored on Krejci’s single for the winning run. Auerbach singled to drive in Kraemer to make it 5-3.

Tesoro won two of three league games against Capistrano Valley to give the Titans an advantage should they be tied as the end of the regular season. The Titans lost two of three league games to both Aliso Niguel and Dana Hills.

Kraemer admitted that, yes, Aliso Niguel and Dana Hills were considered the teams to beat in the South Coast League.

“But really, they’re all teams to beat in this league,” Kraemer said.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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