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CdM remains alive

Sea Kings grab final spot in Pacific Coast League after beating Laguna Hills.

May 15, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

IRVINE — Brian Hurst started his Friday thinking of Corona del Mar High's must-win Pacific Coast League playoff game. Lose and the Sea Kings miss the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs.

When the baseball team hopped on the bus after class, the senior learned of a new assignment. Hurst wasn't playing second base.

He was taking the mound.

The last time Hurst pitched was on April 6. Hurst couldn't remember if he pitched in league this season.

He had not, nor had he started a game with the ball in his hand.

Coach John Emme explained the plan to Hurst before he faced Laguna Hills.

"I was going to give him the ball and let him keep it as long as he could," Emme said.

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Hurst kept the ball. Don't blame him if he took it with him on the bus ride home. He deserved the game ball after his complete-game effort.

With his two aces starting games this week, Emme needed a 100% effort from someone else. Hurst responded with 100 pitches.

The total was enough for Hurst to lead CdM to a 4-1 victory against the Hawks at Irvine High and clinch the league's third guaranteed playoff berth.

Emme picked a good time to call Hurst's number as he earned his first win of the season. Hurst allowed just two hits, while striking out three.

"He got pressed into service and he was lights out," Emme said of Hurst, who before Thursday had only thrown 3 2/3 innings during three outings in relief. "Last year, Hurst threw a complete game against San Juan [Hills], so we knew he had it in him. He's in terrific shape."

So is Emme, who has only missed the postseason once in his 13 seasons at CdM.

The Sea Kings (11-16) rebounded nicely after falling short at home Thursday of securing second place outright and a playoff berth. Errors that day in the seventh allowed league champion Beckman to overcome a one-run deficit and prevail, 5-4.

CdM found itself tied for second in league with Laguna Hills and University. A coin flip gave University a postseason entry after its coin landed on the other side of the one CdM and Laguna Hills flipped.

In the next 24 hours, Hurst tossed Laguna Hills (12-14) aside.

Hurst challenged hitters and they put the ball in play. The Sea Kings backed up the University of Pennsylvania-bound player defensively.

Offensively, CdM gave the 6-foot-2 Hurst run support, two runs in the third and fourth innings.

CdM's Josh Harrison led off the third inning with a bloop single over the second baseman's head. Andrew McCormack moved Harrison into scoring position on a bunt.

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