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MIGUEL VASCONCELLOS , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Aliso Niguel's Remy Wasserbach, left, and Blake Sabol celebrate their 3-2 win over Dana Hills on Friday at Aliso Niguel High.

Aliso Niguel wins with big finish

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

ALISO VIEJO – Going into this week, No. 6 Aliso Niguel knew that a split of its two-game set with third-ranked Dana Hills would assure them the tiebreaker with their South Coast League rival.

After dropping Wednesday’s game and trailing by a run going into their final at-bat Friday, it looked like the Dolphins might just sweep away that goal.

But Eric Wagaman came through for the Wolverines, lining a single to left-center to drive in the winning run for a 3-2 victory at Aliso Niguel High.

“I felt really good with (Wagaman) coming up,” Wolverines coach Craig Hanson said. “He’s been our best hitter consistently throughout the year. He came up clutch for us once again.”

Aliso Niguel (16-10, 6-4), which won two of its three league games against the Dolphins (22-5, 4-4), moves into first place in the South Coast League. Dana Hills and Capistrano Valley, both 4-4 in league, will play a home-and-home series against each other next week.

By earning the tiebreaker, the Wolverines gain an advantage if the two teams end the season tied. The Wolverines will play nonleague games against Laguna Hills next week, before finishing against Capistrano Valley.

One inning before his winning hit, Wagaman was upset about being thrown out in an unusal way on the base paths. He thought teammate Blake Sabol had been walked on a 3-0 pitch, but the umpire made a delayed strike call and Wagaman was thrown out heading from first to second.

“I was so angry,” Wagaman said. “I wanted another at-bat, another chance to come up big. Luckily my team got a few hits, and I was able to come up again.”

With the Wolverines trailing, 2-1, in the seventh, Connor Kokx singled to lead off. With two outs, Remy Wasserbach grounded a ball through the left side of the infield to drive in Kokx and tie the score.

Zak Nocon kept Aliso Niguel close, allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings.

“It’s great to get a win,” Nocon said. “Especially with the league season on the line, championship on the line. Eric had a huge hit. He’s probably the most clutch person on this team.”

Dana Hills sophomore Hans Crouse allowed just four hits while striking out seven over six innings.

Reid Lundeen drove in Kayl Cota in the sixth to give the Dolphins a 2-1 lead. Jay Schuyler knocked in Luke Williams in the first.


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