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Baseball: Fountain Valley stays ahead of Newport Harbor

Newport falls to league-leading Fountain Valley, has work to do to earn CIF berth.

May 02, 2014|By Matt Szabo

With two balls, two strikes and two outs in a 2-2 game, the deuces truly were wild for Fountain Valley High baseball senior Daniel Patzlaff on Friday afternoon.

Patzlaff, who wears jersey No. 2 for the Barons, saw a pitch he liked in the top of the fourth inning. It was down and in, but he managed to hit it out to right field.

The two-run home run was — you guessed it — Patzlaff's second round-tripper of the season. And it helped the Sunset League-leading Barons earn their second win over Newport Harbor in three days, 4-2, at the Sailors' field.

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The Sailors need their own numbers to turn around in a hurry if they want to return to the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs for the first time in four years.

Newport Harbor (10-12, 3-8 in league) remains alone in fourth place in the six-team league, after Marina lost to Huntington Beach on Friday. But, with just four league games remaining, the Sailors also need at least a .500 overall record to qualify for an at-large berth into CIF.

"We need three wins in four games," said Sailors Coach Evan Chalmers, whose team plays at Los Alamitos on Wednesday. "It's exciting to be in the hunt, now we've got to take advantage. We've got to get after it and find a way to drive guys in, that's the bottom line. I'm very proud of the effort, just we're so close. I don't think that pitcher was that dominant, for us to only get two [runs] out of the deal."

Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa admitted that his starter, senior Scott Schultz, didn't have his best stuff. Schultz still improved to 10-0 for the Barons (16-6, 10-1), who are ranked No. 3 in Division 1 and top-ranked in Orange County by the Register. This was true, even as the Sailors struck early.

Newport's Connor Seabold led off the bottom of the first with a single to center, then Logan Mahaffy bunted and reached on a fielding error. Shaun Vetrovec walked to load the bases, before Tk McWhertor hit an RBI groundout to second base. After Jonah Dipoto walked, Luke Genova's sacrifice fly to center scored Mahaffy, and the hosts had a 2-0 lead.

It lasted into the top of third, when the UC Irvine-bound Vetrovec, the Sailors' starting pitcher, battled with his control. He walked his only four batters of the game in that inning, and Fountain Valley scored twice.

The contest stayed tied until the top of the fourth. With one out, Fountain Valley's Justin Brand was hit by a pitch and stole second. An out later, he came home on Patzlaff's shot to right.

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