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Baseball: Teams ready for league play

Sunset League, which opens Friday, figures to be tough once again.

March 13, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
  • Fountain Valley's Dillon Persinger, left, and John Shattles, run bases during practice Tuesday.
Fountain Valley's Dillon Persinger, left, and… (Don Leach / HUNTINGTON…)

When you ask any Sunset League baseball coach just how daunting the league is, you'll get a similar response from each of the six. The word, "tough," seems to best sum up its competitiveness.

The chase for the 2013 Sunset title begins Friday. The opening day schedule has Huntington Beach hosting Fountain Valley, Edison home to Newport Harbor, and Marina traveling to face Los Alamitos. First pitch for each game is 3:15 p.m.

It's difficult to select a favorite for the title. Edison, Huntington Beach and Marina each has played well during nonleague tournament action, as has Fountain Valley which has made a name for itself in the first few weeks of the season.

The Barons are 6-0 overall and one day after opening league play at Huntington, they will contend for the title of the Loara Tournament at Glover Stadium in Anaheim. They'll face Canyon of Anaheim, ranked fourth in CIF Southern Section Division 1, at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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Fountain Valley owns wins against Sonora (11-10, 4-3), Aliso Niguel (6-4), El Modena (5-0), El Toro (5-0) and Cypress (5-4). The win against Cypress, which was the first setback in six games for the Centurions who are ranked No. 2 in Division 2, came in the semifinals of the tournament.

Unranked to begin the season, the Barons have shot up to No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll, behind Harvard-Westlake.

"Our kids have shown a lot of heart and determination," first-year head coach Deric Yanagisawa said. "These players deserve the credit for the great start but we haven't accomplished anything yet. The Sunset League has represented well, thus far, and it will be a dog fight each game. I think our players are up to the challenge."

That challenge begins with a tough road test at Huntington.

"The Sunset League will be a battle each and every game," Yanagisawa said. "Every game will be competitive and will come down to the team that makes the least mistakes. Games will be exciting and fun to be a part of .

"Huntington is young but extremely talented. They will swing the bats and will have just enough pitching to keep them in every game. They are very athletic and they will force teams to play catch."

The Oilers closed out the Newport Elks Tournament with a 4-1 victory over Gahr. Pitchers Robert Baker, Andrew Arledge (2-0) and Jake Brodt (save), limited a potent Gladiators offense to just two hits. Tyler Murray led the Oilers offense with a three for four game, Logan Pouelson drove in two runs and Clint Jack scored twice.

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