There never seems to be an easy baseball game in the Sunset League. Newport Harbor High, the last-place team which has two league losses by one run, can attest to that.
But the Sailors pulled out a dramatic, 3-2 win over Marina at Angel Stadium on Monday night. Sophomore Cameron Mahaffy provided a walk-off RBI single to deal the third-place Vikings a tough blow.
“I got the bunt sign and I had to get that down, but as it was I got two curveballs and I couldn’t really get it down,” Mahaffy said. “But once it got down to two strikes I knew I had to get the job done and get it some way to the outfielder, find a gap any way. I got an up and away pitch and just got enough of it to get over.”
The Sailors (12-12, 3-8 in league) celebrated near second base, crowding Mahaffy and jumping as if they had won a championship. Yet it was a very big win.
“I’ll tell ya, any win in the Sunset League is big,” Newport Harbor Coach Evan Chalmers said. “I don’t care what the record is. They’re all good teams. We’re just going to chew off one game at a time now.”
Newport Harbor gave up a 2-0 lead, but the Sailors would not give up the game. Matt Weiss led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left field. Kyle Carmack then laid down a bunt that the Vikings mishandled allowing him to reach first and for Weiss to advance to second. After that, Mahaffy came up with his big single.
Marina (12-14, 6-5) loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Newport Harbor pitcher Zach Durham struck out the next batter to end the inning. The Vikings also had the bases loaded in the fifth inning with the game tied, 2-2, but Newport Harbor pitcher Finn Springston struck out a batter to end the frame.
“The lesson for the team is not to take any Sunset League game for granted,” Marina Coach Toby Hess said. “There are six super talented teams and they’ve been playing tight games all year. The ball hasn’t bounced [the Sailors’] way every time. But I just tip my cap to them. They’ve been playing great all year. Tonight the ball bounced their way. They did more things correctly than we did that’s for sure.”
Newport Harbor scored one run in the third inning and another in the fourth. Cade Seabold, one of the Sunset League’s best hitters, drove in Carmack with a single in the third. Carmack had singled to reach.
Spiro Stameson had the other RBI for Newport Harbor, when his single drove in AJ Stefano.
Weiss pitched four strong innings for the Sailors. He threw four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and facing the minimum. He ended the fourth inning with an emphatic double play as he gloved a line drive and threw out Tyler Mills, who had singled.
But the Vikings got to Weiss in the fifth, scoring two runs. Andrew Sojka delivered an RBI single, and later with the bases loaded Eric Anderson walked to bring in another run.
“It’s just what it is day in and day out,” Hess said of the highly competitive Sunset League.
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