Sea View holds off Empire League stars
IRVINE - For the second time in as many days at the annual Ryan Lemmon Showcase, a team shook off early-inning jitters and postseason cobwebs to overcome a multi-run deficit and claim Orange County bragging rights.
Less than 24 hours removed from the South Coast League’s come-from-behind victory over the Century League, the Sea View League erased an early three-run deficit to top the Empire League, 7-6, at Windrow Park on Saturday afternoon.
“I think what you have here is that, for the most part, a lot of kids’ seasons ended a while ago,” Laguna Hills coach Tim Ellis said, “so they haven’t swung a bat for a while. Sometimes it takes them a little while to get going.”
Aliso Niguel’s Matt Molnar drove in five with doubles in consecutive innings and Trabuco Hills’s Kenny Wolf escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth to earn the victory.
“Playing with all the guys around the league and having fun playing with my friends is what I’ll remember most,” Molnar said. “You only get to do this once.”
After yielding a leadoff single to Aliso Niguel’s Brett Barker, four different Empire League pitchers retired the next 12 batters in order.
Over that span, the Empire League built a three-run lead with a run in the first and two more in the second.
Trailing in the fifth, Molnar followed an RBI single by Mission Viejo’s Derek Meddings with a two-run, game-tying double.
After a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth gave the Sea View League the lead, Molnar knocked in three with a one-out double to center field.
“He (Valencia pitcher David Voorhees) had thrown a lot of balls already so I knew he had to throw a strike,” Molnar said. “I got a good pitch to hack at and I hit it pretty well.”
The Empire League scratched across a pair of runs in the sixth and another in the seventh, but Aliso Niguel reliever Alex Beck stranded the game-tying run on second base to earn the save.
“Getting to hang out with all the guys you played against all season is always fun,” Ellis said. “The kids get a kick out of it ... These are the kind of things that make coaching special.”
In the other Lemmon Showcase game:
Sunset League 4, Trinity League 3: In the second game of the doubleheader, two-run singles in the third and fourth innings by Los Alamitos’ Andrew Yazdanbakhsh and Marina’s Keegan Resser, respectively, gave the Sunset League enough offense to overcome deficits.
Huntington Beach’s Shane Grace (two innings, two strikeouts) and LJ Brewster (one inning, two strikeouts) closed the book on the Trinity League with three scoreless innings of relief.