May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Corona del Mar baseball team keeps rolling with 4-2 victory over Fountain Valley

Luc Stuca (No. 23) and Tom Wilcox led CdM to a victory Friday. (Photo courtesy CdM baseball)

After a shaky start Corona del Mar High pitcher Thomas Wilcox and the Sea Kings settled down and went on to defeat Fountain Valley 4-2 in a non-league game Friday afternoon at CdM High.

Wilcox earned the win but needed help from Sea Kings’ closer Tanner Ivey. The senior stopper came on in relief with one out and one on in the sixth inning and mowed down the Barons to give the Sea Kings its seventh win in nine games this season (7-1-1).  Fountain Valley dropped to 4-6 on the season.

Wilcox, a 6-4, 235 pound right-hander, gave up two runs, four hits, struck out three and walked only one as he earned the win. 

“After the first inning I really didn’t change much, but I started spotting up better,” said Wilcox, who is committed to play at University of Tennessee next season. “We put some pressure on the defense and Luc (Stuka’s) first inning home run gave us confidence.”

Wilcox walked the first batter of the game and then one out later gave up three consecutive singles that propelled the Barons to a 2-0 lead.

But CdM bounced back immediately in their first at bat of the game.

Stuka drilled UCLA-bound Jake Brooks’ second pitch of the inning over the right field wall for his second home run of the season to cut the lead to 2-1. Fountain Valley’s defense got sloppy and committed three errors over the next four batters that led to two Sea Kings unearned runs. Matt DeCrona added an RBI single and CdM led 3-2 lead after one inning. DeCrona, Stuka and Nolan Dunn each had two hits apiece for the Sea Kings. 

“I got a good pitch to hit and I was ready for the fastball,” said Stuka, referring to his round tripper.    

Wilcox settled in after the first inning and retired 13 of the next 15 hitters he faced, including 11 in a row, before being removed with one on and one out in the sixth inning.

Ivey came on in relief and struck out three and retired the final five batters to close out the game. The only batter to reach base against him came as a result of a passed ball following a strikeout.

“I was a little nervous when I came on,” Ivey said. “My curveball was on today and getting that insurance run in the sixth was big.”

The Sea Kings upped their lead to 4-2 after Dunn singled and advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s two out RBI single in the sixth.

“It was an ugly win, but we’ll take it,” said Sea Kings coach Kevin McCaffrey. “Wilcox pitched well after he settled and Tanner did a great job and Ryan’s hit was huge for us.”

The Barons threatened in the sixth putting two on with two outs but Ivey got Ryan Sullivan to ground to short to end the inning. Fountain Valley also failed to capitalize further in the first inning when Wilcox got Sullivan to bounce into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.  

Brooks pitched well but didn’t get any run support after the first inning. He struck out nine and walked only one batter and took the loss.

“Jake pitched well enough to win, but we made three errors in the first inning,” said Barons coach Deric Yanagisawa. “We have to get guys to step up and have better at bats and compete.”

Tom Connolly, For OC Sports Zone