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Defense stars in Fountain Valley triumph
HUNTINGTON BEACH – When left fielder Justin Cobb moved to pitcher for Fountain Valley in the sixth inning, Dan Rosica took over in left field.
With the potential tying run on second base and two outs, Rosica took off after a line drive to his right, a ball that was tailing away from him.
Rosica made a diving catch just inside the left-field foul line, the shiniest play of several defensive gems, to end the inning in Fountain Valley's 3-2 victory over Marina in a Sunset League game at Marina High.
Fountain Valley now has played all five of its Sunset League opponents and has defeated them all. The Barons, ranked No. 3 in Orange County and fourth in CIF-SS Division 1, already have equaled the number of league victories they had last season. They are 11-1 overall, with that loss to No. 2 Canyon in the championship game of the Loara Tournament.
Marina is in second place at 3-2 in league, two games behind Fountain Valley. Marina is 7-5 overall and ranked No. 8 in Orange County.
"Having a two-game lead going into the final round of league play is humongous," said Fountain Valley coach Deric Yanagisawa.
In a game with so much outstanding defense, the winning run was scored on a passed ball. The scroe was tied, 2-2, when Dillon Persinger led off the sixth inning with a double. He went to third base on Daniel Patzlaff's single, and scored on the passed ball.
Bryan Perez led off Marina's half of the sixth with a single. Cobb replaced Fountain Valley starting pitcher Monty Plattner, with Rosica going to left. Perez advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Max Willingham.
A fly ball caught by Rosica was the inning's second out. Then Marina's Jake Arledge hit the liner down the left-field line where Rosica made his diving catch.
"Daniel Rosica basically saved the game for us," Yanagisawa said.
Rosica said he almost did not do so.
"The ball was kind of getting further away from me with each step," he said.
Cobb made a running, back-handed catch of an Arledge drive in the fifth inning. When Marina loaded the bases later that inning with two outs, Fountain Valley third baseman Justin Brand made a diving back-hand grab of Grant Mayeaux's hard-hit ground ball and tagged the bag for the third out. Barons first baseman Jordan Lucio made two difficult scoops of short throws to complete putouts.
Marina first baseman Jake Bauers snagged a tough ground ball to start an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning. Arledge's diving catch in center field was the final out of the second inning.
Marina took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Landon Marshall's sacrifice fly drove in Tyler Mildenberg.
The Barons scored twice in the fifth, on Lucio's RBI triple and John Shattles' sacrifice fly that sent home Lucio.
The Vikings tied it in the fifth inning when Miltenberg's single drove in Austin Moore.
Plattner pitched five innings to get the victory and improve to 6-0. Cobb's save is his third of the season. Marina's Austin Olivas pitched a complete game, allowed two earned runs and struck out six with one walk.
Fountain Valley begins play in the 76-team Anaheim Lions Tournament Saturday, when they play host to La Salle of Pasadena at 11 a.m. Marina plays at home Saturday at 11 a.m. against Tustin in a first-round game of the Ryan Lemmon Tournament.
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