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High School Baseball: Sailors fall to Fountain Valley

Newport Harbor commits five errors in setback to first-place Barons.

April 17, 2013|By Matt Szabo

NEWPORT BEACH — Weird things happened on a windy Wednesday afternoon at the Newport Harbor High baseball field.

A couple of well-hit balls carried all the way out of the park. A couple of balls appeared foul down the left-field line, only to be blown back into play for hits.

But the Sailors couldn't really blame their 8-5 loss to first-place Fountain Valley in a Sunset League game on gusts of air.

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Errors were a bigger issue.

Newport Harbor (9-10, 2-7 in league) committed five of them in falling further behind in the league race. The Sailors are in last place, a half-game behind Huntington Beach.

It was the Sailors' second loss in two days against Fountain Valley (20-1, 9-0), ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division 1 and No. 21 nationally by Maxpreps.com. They fell on the road, 13-3, on Tuesday.

They had their chances in both games.

"If we make plays, we win," Newport Harbor Coach Patrick Murphy said. "[Tuesday] we were down, 5-3, in the fifth inning, and we had runners on second and third with two outs. We get a hit, we're tied up. Against Edison the week before, we lost, 2-1, and ran ourselves out of an inning. We scored five runs in the first inning against Los Al, and gave that game away. It's tough to win when you don't play catch, and ultimately we're just not playing catch when we have to.

"We can't take any more ground balls, we can't do anything more in preparation. It's just not happening ... If we play to our potential, we should have won that game. We played ourselves out of that game. We didn't get beat; we lost."

Newport Harbor out-hit Fountain Valley, 14-7, in Wednesday's contest, but the Barons took advantage of Newport Harbor's miscues. Up, 4-2, they scored three more unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning to pad their lead.

It was not without controversy. A routine fly ball to center by leadoff hitter Nick Yang appeared to be caught, though the Sailors center fielder dropped the ball on the transfer from his glove. The umpire, however, called Yang safe at second base. Murphy was incredulous.

"That's a pretty easy play," he said. "The center fielder catches the ball and has it for a good two seconds, three seconds. I mean, he had it, clearly."

A man walked by after the game and showed Murphy a picture of the catch, on a digital camera screen. All Murphy could do was laugh.

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