Baseball and Volleyball Pursue CIF Titles
Nunis hit a two-run homer in the third inning to lift Laguna Beach High School’s baseball squad (26-2) to a 2-0 victory over Alhambra in a CIF Division 4 second round win Tuesday, May 27. The team next faces Sonora High School in La Habra in a 3 p.m. quarterfinal Friday, May 30.
Also on Tuesday, Laguna boys volleyball swept Rancho Dominguez Prep 25-13, 25-8, 25-11 to advance to the state Division III regional semifinals, which were to be held this past Thursday, May 29 at home. Breakers faced Bishop Montgomery of Torrance.
Baseball (26-2, 15-0)
Nunis delivered a two-run home run blast in the third inning and then used his arm in the fifth to send the Breakers to the quarterfinals. Alhambra (22-4) had a chance in the fifth inning to tie the game with one-out and bases loaded. A blast to right field by David Saldate that normally would be a solid sacrifice fly was caught by Nunis, who then fired a perfect strike to catcher Will McInerny for the double play tag on Michael Corral.
Preston Grand Pre (3-0) went the distance for the Breakers striking out seven and allowing only three hits. The 2-0 victory was the team’s seventh shutout for the season, ending Alhambra’s 15-game win streak.
Earlier, Laguna won the opening CIF playoff game at home Thursday, May 22, with an 8-0 romp over the Nordhoff Rangers (13-9). Preston Grand Pre reached base on an error and then stole second and scored the first run off Richie Nunis’ double. Breakers broke the game open in the third with a six run outburst and added the final run in the fifth inning when Garrett Burk scored on a sacrifice fly by Jack Simon.
Grant Wilhelm added to his school pitching records winning his twelfth straight for 2014 and his 23rd career win.
Statistical Leaders through May 28 (28 games)
Batting Average: .495 Grant Wilhelm, .480 Richie Nunis, .417 Dante Faicchio, .408 Preston Grand Pre
Hits: 49 Richie Nunis, 47 – Grant Wilhelm, 42 – Preston Grand Pre
Runs Scored: 38 Preston Grand Pre
RBI’s : 44 Richie Nunis
Doubles : 18 Grant Wilhelm (NEW SCHOOL RECORD)
Triples 2 Grant Wilhelm, Dante Faicchio
Home Runs: 6 Steven Harrison, 4 – Richie Nunis
Walks (BB) 25 Steven Harrison
Hit-by-Pitch 11 Steven Harrison
Slugging % .764 Richie Nunis
On Base % .550 Steven Harrison
Stolen Bases 35 Preston Grand Pre (NEW SCHOOL RECORD)
Pitching Wins: 12 Grant Wilhelm (NEW SCHOOL RECORD)
Innings Pitched 67 Grant Wilhelm
Strikeouts 71 Grant Wilhelm
Earned Run Ave: 0.84 Grant Wilhelm,
Team ERA 1.60
Team Batting Average: .391 (12 of 14 players hitting above .300)
Team runs scored: 280 (NEW SCHOOL RECORD)
Updated detailed individual baseball statistics are posted on the MaxPreps web-site:
Boys Golf (5-11, 4-5 Third Place)
Laguna’s John Graydon, a junior, advanced to the CIF Individual Finals that were held on May 27 at Mission Lakes CC.
Boys Volleyball (24-6, 10-0)
Laguna Falls in Five to Esperanza – State Regionals this Saturday
Laguna lost a very tough emotional match to the defending champion Esperanza Aztecs 23-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-18, 9-15 before a very large and rowdy crowd last Saturday, May 24, at Cerritos College. Breakers had their chances but could not close out the contest.
In set one, Breakers started 0-1 after the official penalized Laguna for the school letters on their uniforms being too close to the uniform collar in his interpretation of the NHSF uniform rules. Still Laguna battled to 12 tie scores and four lead changes in the set, last tying the contest at 21-21. Breakers appeared to take a lead off an Aztec hitting error but the official called a replay and Laguna never led again. In set two, Breakers were down by five points early but rallied to tie the contest at 9 before rolling to the set win. The momentum carried into the third set that had the Breakers up 24-18 before Laguna failed on five straight set points to give the game away almost all on unforced errors.
Breakers didn’t fold and battled the Aztecs even in the hotly contested fourth set until Laguna’s tough serving (four aces) allowed Laguna to win by seven.
In the final set, Esperanza won the opening serve on a long rally and never trailed, winning the 15-point set by six points.
Overall, Laguna delivered 13 aces and gave up nine service errors. The Aztecs gave up five service errors and Laguna was penalized with six serve receive errors or overpasses returned for points.
Jack Wyett had 21 kills, Noah Blanton 17, Jake Hexburg 14, and Jack Burgi 11. Laguna’s outside hitter and opposite were much more successful in the finals than in a win over Esperanza on May 7. The Aztecs had 16 services errors then and only five this match – a key difference. 2013 Orange County MVP Jake Arnitz recorded 38 kills. Esperanza moves to D-I next season.
Previously, Laguna advanced to the finals with a sweep of El Segundo 25-17, 25-19, 25-21 on Wednesday, May 21 at Dugger Gym. The third-ranked Eagles could never generate any sustainable momentum. Jack Burgi was nearly unstoppable as the right-side opposite delivering 17 kills on 20 swings. Jack Wyett added 17 kills, Noah Blanton nine kills, two solo blocks, three block assists, a service ace and a set assist. JP Wollam had 14 digs with Alec Wulff and Cameron DePfyffer splitting the setting duties.
Should Breakers advance to the finals, they take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at Cerritos College to face either defending champion Francis Parker (21-13) or OC # 7 ranked Saddleback Valley Christian (31-3). Breakers won titles in 2009, 2010, and 2011 including two very close wins over Francis Parker.