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High School Baseball: Vikings remain alive

Marina High is moving on in the CIF Southern Section baseball playoffs after picking up a big road victory Tuesday.

For two other teams that day, the season came to an end.

Marina advanced to the Division 1 quarterfinal round for the first time since 2009 after the Vikings traveled to Thousand Oaks and returned home with an 11-4 second-round win. Their Sunset League brethren, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach, were eliminated in second-round losses, the Barons, in a 3-2 loss to Santa Margarita in a game that went eight innings, and the Oilers, in a 3-2 setback to Riverside Poly.

Marina hitters blistered Thousand Oaks pitching for three home runs. Seniors Casey Hayes and Jake Bauers each hit a two-run home run and junior Austin Sojka planted a grand slam.

Hayes' crushed his homer over the fence in left field with Bauers, who had singled, on base in the top of the first inning. Sojka delivered his grand slam in the fourth inning and Bauers' homer came in the fifth.

"Our hitting was phenomenal," Marina Coach Bob Marshall said of an offensive attack that also included two hits each from Hayes, Bauers, Sojka, seniors Jake Arledge and Tyler Mildenberg, junior Landon Marshall and sophomore Austin Moore.

Senior left-handed pitcher Jackson Westermeyer gave up two runs in four innings pitched for the win.

He is now 9-1 for the season.

Senior Max Gibbs, also a lefty, spelled Westermeyer and pitched two innings before giving way to yet another lefty, sophomore lefty Steven Gingery who shut down the Lancers (20-9-1, Marmonte League No. 3) in the seventh.

Thousand Oaks defeated Servite in a wild-card game on May 14, then upset No. 3-seed Canyon/Anaheim in a first-round game on May 16.

"He gave us a great four innings even when he did not have it all working," Bob Marshall said of Westermeyer. "Westy did a great job fighting an illness. He was not 100% but he gave us all he had and he started to weaken in the fourth. Westy is a competitor and does not want to come out of the game. He was pale and sweating profusely."

Sunset League runner-up Marina, now 20-8, is home Friday for its quarterfinal game. The Vikings play host to Agoura Hills Agoura, which knocked off Trabuco Hills, 9-4, on Tuesday, at 3:15 p.m.

It will be the second consecutive opponent from the Marmonte League for the Vikings. Agoura, 22-9 overall, won the Marmonte title and is seeded fifth in Division 1.

"Agoura is a tough opponent," Marshall said. "They knocked off some quality teams to get to the quarterfinals. No team is an easy walk. You hope and pray that your team gets the bounce our way. One bad bounce, one missed call, can change the outcome of the game."

The Agoura-Marina winner advances to the Division 1 semifinals Tuesday at Blair Field in Long Beach.

Marina began postseason play with a 2-1 first-round win on May 16 over visiting Norco. Bauers hit a first-inning home run and the Vikings scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off RBI single by Mildenberg.

Austin Olivas threw a complete game in a performance that Marshall said the senior left-hander "dominated and was in command from the beginning."

Huntington Beach, which created a huge stir in Division 1 when it went on the road May 16 and upended top-seeded Mater Dei, 2-1, in a first-round game, played its third postseason game in a week Tuesday against Riverside Poly. The Oilers came up short against the Bears, who prevailed, 3-2.

Huntington drew even at 1-1 in the bottom of the third when Clint Jack opened with a single and later scored on passed ball. Poly came up with a two-out rally in the top of the fourth to produced a run for a 2-1 lead on an RBI single by Jake Nichols.

The Bears, 19-7 and champions of the Inland Valley League, parlayed another two-out rally in the top of the seventh for their final run. Cody Palmer hit the third of three consecutive singles to drive in a run for a 3-1 lead.

Junior Dillon Millar (two for three) provided the Oilers with the spark they needed when he homered to left field to start the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Tyler Murray followed with a liner to left field for a single and he was sacrificed to second on senior Bill Morehouse's bunt.

The Oilers couldn't bring in the tying run. Poly reliever Yousef Koutnik got Jack to pop up to third base for the second out, and junior Jesse Kuet flied out to center field to end the game.

Huntington, an at-large playoff entry from the Sunset League, closed out a 15-14 season.

"Poly is a good team," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said. "They don't beat themselves and they came up clutch when they needed to. I felt we played well and hit the ball hard, but we made mistakes in crucial situations and it cost us.

"We are young and we made young mistakes. Two-out walks, missing spots with locations, getting picked off at second [base], are all from a lack of experience. That is the reason why we lost."

Huntington took a 2-1 wild-card game from Riverside ML King on May 14, to earn a date with Mater Dei.

The Oilers scored the winning run in top of the seventh. Jack hit a lead-off single and one out later, junior Jarrett Anton singled to put runners at the corners. Freshman Logan Pouelsen then hit a grounder to second base. Anton was forced out at second but Pouelsen beat the throw to first to foil the double-play attempt, and Jack scored the go-ahead run on the play.

Sophomore Noah Davis drew the starting assignment against the Monarchs (24-3), who were champions of the Trinity League. He allowed only two hits and a run.

Gone was the division favorite.

"The best thing about baseball is that anyone can win on any given day," Medure said. "I loved the heart and intensity that our kids played with against Mater Dei. We always talk about being relentless and attacking constantly and they really showed that against Mater Dei. It was definitely our signature win of 2013.

"I am very proud of this team because of how much they battled through as a group. They came back from the dead and knocked off some good teams and played well in an electric atmosphere today. The silver lining to this thing is that the entire lineup and pitching staff is coming back. Hopefully, we can get something out of this experience and build on it for next year."

Sunset League champion Fountain Valley had its Division 1 title drive ended by Santa Margarita. Josh Meyer hit a lead-off, walk-off home run to left field in the bottom of the eighth to lift the host Eagles (19-11, Trinity League No. 3) to a 3-2 victory.

Junior Brock Lundquist had an RBI double and senior John Shattles an RBI single in the fourth for the Barons who took a 2-1 lead.

Senior Monty Plattner threw 7 1/3 innings and was handed his only loss (10-1) of the season.

Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said Plattner threw "extremely well."

"Our guys left everything they had on the field," Yanagisawa said. "A coach couldn't ask for a better effort from his players. We went into a tough place to play against one of the better arms [Griffin Canning] in the county, and we battled."

The Barons opened the playoffs on May 16 with an 8-0 shutout of visiting Mission Hills Alemany. Lundquist went two for three with three RBIs and Plattner threw six innings for the win.

Fountain Valley finished 24-5.

"I'm very proud of our ballclub this year," Yanagisawa said. "We showed that we can compete at the highest level of high school baseball. Our program took a big step forward this year and our senior class deserves a lot of credit for that. We had big contributions from each of them. They put Fountain Valley baseball back on the map. I look forward to taking another step in the upcoming years.

"There were a lot of alumni that showed up to support us. Our students came out and cheered on their friends. So, a big 'thank you,' to all of you. You helped make our season a success."

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