June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Beckman bounces back with victory over Irvine in final PCL game

Players from Beckman and Irvine meet after Thursday’s PCL finale. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Beckman High School’s baseball team got back on track Thursday, defeating Irvine 10-2 in the final Pacific Coast League game of a three-game series at Irvine.

It was also the final game for Beckman in the current PCL configuration. The Patriots move on to a new league next season.

Irvine won 2-1 on Wednesday, possibly ending the Patriots hopes of sharing a league title with Northwood. Northwood clinched a share of the crown Wednesday with a win over Portola and can earn the outright title with a victory over Portola on Friday.

Beckman (20-6-1, 16-4-1) could earn a share of the title if Portola (11-12-1, 8-12) defeats Northwood (19-5-1, 16-3-1) on Friday.

Irvine (11-15-1, 9-12) needed to defeat Beckman Thursday to keep its CIF playoff hopes alive. Teams need to be .500 to be considered for at-large berths, but not every division has at-large openings.

Beckman Coach Kevin Lavalle liked the effort of his team, which jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on its way to a series win over Irvine.

“It was a game I felt like we had to win,” he said. “We had a tough one yesterday (Wednesday), their kid (Evan) Tamayo threw an absolute gem and we had some chances to score and we didn’t so I really felt like today was a very important game for us to win to gather some momentum and some confidence going into the playoffs. We did exactly what we were supposed to do.”

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

Carter Head delivered a solid performance on the mound, allowing two runs through five innings and scattering five hits to earn the win. Kavin Patel pitched the final two innings for the Patriots.

“He’s done that all year for us,” Lavalle said of Head. “He’s pitched on Friday, he’s not our number three pitcher or number two pitcher or number one pitcher, we just tell our guys, when they’re on the mound, they’re the best, they’re our number one and he’s pitched like it, he’s only a sophomore.”

Leadoff hitter Ken Tomitaka led the way offensively, going 3 for 3 with three runs scored and an RBI.

“He is a fantastic baseball player, he’s been on varsity for four years, and he’s really settled into that leadoff spot,” Lavalle said. “He came out and really delivered for us.”

Zach Ireland (2 for 2, two RBI, run scored), Isaiah Kapur (1 for 3, three RBI), Jack Terry (single, two RBI) and Brent Byrd (two walks) had big days offensively for Beckman, which moved ahead 6-1 with three runs in the fifth inning.

Sullivan Spivey had an RBI double for Irvine in the third inning and Zach Rodriguez drove in another run when he reached on an error in the fifth inning.

“We came out and I loved the way our boys competed,” said Irvine Coach Gabriel Cota. “We did what we could. They came out on fire and swung the bat really well. Their guy threw well. I feel like we started playing good baseball at the end.”

Cota and the Irvine players left the field not knowing their playoff fate.

As it turned out, the game marked the final one for a number of seniors, including shortstop Nathan Valencia.

“I enjoyed every last moments of it,” said Valencia. “We fought every inning, every play, I love all my teammates and I’m just so proud of them.”

Valencia said he will remember teaming up with his brother, Adam, a junior, for the last time.

“It was a very cool moment, I will never forget,” he said.

He will also remember the win over Beckman Wednesday.

“It was pretty cool, knowing we came off a couple tough losses,” Valencia said. “But we were able to keep battling and playing like we always do and come up with the win.”

As for Beckman, the Patriots players may be paying attention to what happens Friday at Northwood.

But their coach has other plans.

“I’m going to be at the movies, or something,” Lavalle said with a laugh. “I’ll turn my phone off. Northwood is a great baseball team. They deserve everything that comes their way. I’m really proud of these guys. There was a stretch in the middle of the season where we couldn’t tie our own shoes. And I think a lesser team would have broke from that and started playing selfishly and we did the exact opposite. We made a decision to start playing unselfish baseball and that’s the reason I think we’re prepared going into the playoffs.

“Whenever you win 20 games, you’ve done a lot of things right and you have a lot of really great players and I think we’ve done both.”

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