May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Defensive lapses plague Costa Mesa in 9-7 loss to Rio Hondo Prep at CIF Division 6 final

Costa Mesa players and Coach Kevin Chavez look on during the awards ceremony after Saturday’s game (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

It was a promising start for Costa Mesa’s baseball in the CIF Division 6 championship game against Rio Hondo Prep Saturday at UC Riverside.

The Mustangs scored four runs in the top of the first inning, but Rio Hondo cashed in defensive lapses to score three runs in the bottom of the inning and four in the second inning to win 9-7 and capture its first CIF title.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Costa Mesa (16-12) was trying to win its second CIF championship, the first one coming in 1962.

The Mustangs, who finished third in the Orange Coast League, put together quite a run in the playoffs but were unable to pull off another win Saturday.

“It was a battle, it really was and we’re proud of our kids for that aspect,” said Costa Mesa’s first year coach Kevin Chavez. “I would have liked to have seen it more of a clean game. The four errors, you can’t have that in the finals and expect to come out victorious.

“And that’s kind of where we were in the middle of the season with a lot of errors and not good baseball and that’s why were floating around .500. We went on the hot streak and we cut down the errors to zero and won most games with a lot of hits. To their credit, they did a great job. They got down 4-0 in the first inning and they come right back with three so that speaks a lot to their coaching staff and those kids for what they did.”

In the top of the first inning, the Mustangs scored four runs. Omar Munoz and Duke Kirby had RBI triples and Riley Mitchell had an RBI single. In addition, Cameron Chapman stole home as he and lead-off hitter Miguel Rodriguez, who walked, pulled off a double steal.

But in the bottom of the first inning, Rio Hondo Prep (19-7) responded with three runs, taking advantage of two Costa Mesa errors. In the second inning, Rio Hondo scored three more runs, cashing in three more errors. Bryant Flores drove home two of the runs with a double to put Rio Hondo ahead 7-4 after two innings.

Costa Mesa scored an unearned run in the fourth inning. Mitchell reached on an error and scored on an RBI single by David Gonzalez to make it 7-5.

But in the bottom of the inning, Rio Hondo responded with a run on an RBI double by Evan Foor to make it 8-5.

Costa Mesa battled back with two runs in the top of the fifth inning to close the gap to one. Cameron Chapman led off with a double and scored on a single by Omar. Munoz. Pinch-runner Louis Munoz then scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Corkhill.

Rio Hondo scored a run in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Alex Vaquez to take a 9-7 lead.

Costa Mesa did not go down without a fight. In the top of the seventh Kirby doubled and Mitchell reached on an error. Mitchell stole second base with two outs but Corkhill grounded out to end the game.

“To our credit, we tying runs on second and in scoring position, so it’s a good ball game in that aspect,” Chavez said. “Of course, we would come out on the good side but that’s why we play.”

Chavez thought his players, who were playing in a final for the first time, had some nerves, at least at the start.

“We were trying to loosen them up, but we were real quiet and I think coming out in the first inning and putting up four and really hitting the ball I thought that would get us rolling but it’s just one of those things,” Chavez said.

Omar Munoz pitched the first 1 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs, but none earned and five hits. He walked three and struck out two. David Gonzalez then pitched 2 1/3 innings allowing three hits and a run and Chapman finished with two innings, allowing one run and striking out three.

Foor, who pitched the first five innings, got the win for Rio Hondo Prep. He allowed seven runs, six earned and nine hits. Jack Van Cleave finished on the mound, allowing one hit in two innings.

At the plate, Foor was 2 for 4 with three RBI while Flores and Van Cleave also drove in two runs to lead Rio Hondo Prep.

Munoz was 2 for 4 with two RBI and Chapman had two hits and scored two runs and Kirby and Mitchell each had two hits, an RBI and a run scored to lead Costa Mesa.

Both teams had 10 hits. Rio Hondo also had three errors.

“I think we did our job, we really hurt ourselves,” Chavez said. “That’s OK, it’s not for lack of trying. You’re going to go through situations where kids play and they make physically mistakes, and that happens. This time, we weren’t able to overcome it.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com