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Estancia takes on Anaheim

Eagles, aiming for first playoff win since 1992, battle Colonists under the lights at La Palma Park.

May 16, 2011|By Barry Faulkner, barry.faulkner@latimes.com

After breaking a 15-season drought for postseason appearances last year, another trip to the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs won't be anything new to the Estancia High baseball team.

But Tuesday's wild-card clash with Anaheim will feature something novel for the Eagles (13-12), as the game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at La Palma Park in Anaheim.

Estancia has not played a night game this season, said Coach Matt Sorensen, who will be attempting to guide Estancia, the third-place representative from the Orange Coast League, to its first playoff victory since 1992.

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A victory by either team would be anything but old-hat when it comes to the playoffs. The Colonists (13-14), the No. 3 representative from the Orange League, are making their sixth consecutive trip to the playoffs. But they have not won in that stretch.

"They look like a pretty good matchup for us," Sorensen said. "I like it."

Sorensen said the Eagles, who won the league title in 2010, the program's first league crown since 1991, underachieved during the regular season.

"I think our club is a little better than our third-place finish shows," Sorensen said. "We had a sharp, crisp practice Monday and, with the exception of senior outfielder Matt Carlyle [out the last four weeks with a broken bone in his hand], we're going into the game at full strength. I'm very optimistic."

Sorensen said senior Tyler De la Pena, who he estimated was 7-5 with an earned run-average in the 3.50 range, will start.

"He was as sharp as I've ever seen him Thursday against Costa Mesa," said Sorensen, who described De la Pena's approach as that of a point guard.

"His job is to get the second baseman, third baseman, the outfielders and everyone involved by relying on his defense," Sorensen said.

Offensively, the Eagles are hitting .289 as a team and have averaged five runs per game.

Junior catcher Brodie Pearce leads the team with a .362 average and 15 runs batted in. He has 25 hits.

Sophomore shortstop Tyler Rios, who also pitches, is bating .346 with 27 hits, 18 runs and eight RBIs.

Senior Victor Trujillo is batting .356 with 21 hits, nine RBIs and a team-leading three steals.

Junior outfielder Alex Troncoso is batting .338 with 26 hits, 11 RBIs, 17 runs and a team-best two home runs. He homered in the regular-season finale.

Sophomore Steven Macias has 17 hits and 14 RBIs for the Eagles.

Anaheim is averaging 5.4 runs per game. Coach Dave Torres' squad has scored in double figures five times, been blanked five times and shut out two opponents.

Estancia has scored in double figures twice, been blanked three times and has posted two shutouts.

The teams' lone common opponent is Century. Estancia defeated the Centurions, 9-6, on March 5. Anaheim won two of three against their league rival, posting wins of 21-1 and 12-1 on April 13 and 15, respectively, and falling, 3-2, on March 18.

Tuesday's winner advances to Thursday's first round at No. 1-seeded Palm Desert (24-4).

Laguna Beach (25-2), the Orange Coast League champ, is the No. 4 seed.

Del Rey League champion Bishop Amat (24-4) is the No. 2 seed and Pioneer League champ Torrance (24-5) is seeded No. 3.

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