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Fountain Valley walks into second round
Hits weren’t producing runs, so Fountain Valley had to find another way to score.
Fountain Valley beat El Modena, 1-0, on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday in a CIF-Southern Section Division 1 first-round playoff game.
Fountain Valley (21-10) will play top-seeded JSerra (26-4-1) in the second round Tuesday. The home team will be determined by a coin flip today. JSerra beat Temecula Valley, 8-3, in a first-round game.
El Modena finished 19-9. The Vanguards were the No. 2 team from the Crestview League. They were among Orange County’s more-improved teams, having finished 7-20 in 2014.
The El Modena-Fountain Valley game featured an outstanding pitching matchup. Fountain Valley sophomore right-hander Travis Burleson pitched nine innings in which 72 of his 95 pitches were strikes. He gave up four hits and one walk, and struck out.
Burleson threw the ball well. One throw he did not make produced one of the game’s important plays.
El Modena had a runner on second base with two outs in the ninth inning. Burleson faked a pick-off throw to second, and Fountain Valley second baseman Willie Aguilar and shortstop Justin Navarro pretended that the ball got by them and went into center fielder. The Vanguards base-runner fell for it, took off for third base and Burleson, with the ball still in his glove, tagged out the runner 20 feet from third base.
The Barons, ranked No. 7 in Orange County, scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning. Justin Cobb walked, took second on a wild pitch, and went to third when Pierson Loska reached on an error. After Burleson was intentionally walked to load the bases, Justin Mazzone walked on a full count to send Cobb home.
As good as Burleson was on the mound, El Modena starting pitcher Brett Conine was better. Even Fountain Valley thought so.
“Conine’s probably the best we’ve seen, no disrespect to Danner,” said Barons coach Deric Yanagisawa, referring to Huntington Beach standout sophomore Hagen Danner. “That’s probably one of the best high school arms I’ve seen in a long time in terms of poise and commanding the strike zone. We’re no slouch on offense, but he made us look pretty average today.”
Conine pitched eight innings, spread out seven hits, walked none and struck out six. He was lifted after the eighth inning.
Burleson was asked where Conine ranked among pitchers Fountain Valley has faced.
“He’s definitely first,” Burleson said.
JSerra coach Brett Kay said he will try to have Tuesday’s game against Fountain Valley be a night game if JSerra is the host team. Fountain Valley would have to agree to that, and the CIF-SS office would have to approve it.
Also in Division 1:
No. 10 Capistrano Valley 6, Murrieta Valley 0: Jordan Bocko pitched a shutout and Kevin Joyce homered and drove in three runs for the host Cougars (14-16-1).
In Division 3:
Rancho Alamitos 7, Corona del Mar 5: Jesse Candelario had two hits and two RBI for the visiting Vaqueros (20-6).
Beckman 4, Segerstrom 3: Adam Lamar pitched a complete game with six strikeouts for the host Patriots (18-9). They play Quartz Hill in the second round Tuesday.
In Division 5:
Capistrano Valley Christian 9, La Puente 2: Tucker Hathaway, Ryan Rapattoni and DJ Sutorius had two RBI each for the host Egles (19-8-1).
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