Rough ending for Tars

Newport Harbor High, competing without four players, loses two-run lead and is eliminated from CIF Division I playoffs.

May 21, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

CAMARILLO — Jack Grace asked for the baseball for the second time in three days in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs. Newport Harbor High first-year coach Patrick Murphy gave it to him to start Thursday.

Who else was Murphy's best available option? The Sailors lost their scheduled starter a day before they traveled to Adolfo Camarillo for a first-round game.

Murphy said the pitcher was one of four players removed from the program after being involved in an incident at school. Two of those players were starters, the Sailors' ace and runs batted in leader.


Newport Harbor was down before it arrived, but not out.

Pressed into service, Grace kept the Sailors in the game. The senior left after the third inning with a two-run lead.

Newport Harbor failed to score again. The Scorpions rallied for six runs in the sixth inning to win, 10-6, and avoid being upset.

The Sailors looked visibly disturbed after the two teams exchanged high-fives near home plate. Newport Harbor's first postseason appearance in 20 years ended on a sour note.

A player from Camarillo (23-4) yelled and mocked a Newport Harbor fan. Dillan Freiberg and his teammates took exception.

Freiberg had to be held back.

"I'd like to have that game back," said Freiberg, a senior, who played his final high school baseball game.

Through five innings, Newport Harbor (17-11) played like the better team. The Sailors out-hit the hosts, ranked sixth in the final regular-season coaches' poll, 11-4.

Newport Harbor led, 6-4, and was on its way to pulling off a second straight victory in the playoffs after Tuesday's 3-2 wild-card win at home against Roosevelt of Corona. The odds were stacked against the Sailors.

The Sailors played without pitcher Chase Kapana (7-2) and first baseman Matt Carpenter (eight home runs, 29 RBIs), but they didn't use that as an excuse. They made the 94-mile trip to Ventura County in the afternoon to win.

"I thought it brought us closer as a team," Freiberg said.

"Life goes on. You've got to go with the blows and that's what we did."

The Scorpions struck first after Newport Harbor squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the top of the first inning.

After Grace nailed the leadoff batter, Mike Erb retaliated by hitting Grace harder. Behind on the count, 0-2, Erb blasted a two-run home run to left-center field.

The ball tends to fly out of the yard in that direction fast.

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