May 29, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Ending is a little wild but Uni tops Savanna 7-4 and first-year coach gets win

First-year Uni Coach Steve Hindman talks to his players after Thursday’s game. (Photos Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

University High’s baseball team made sure that first-year coach Steve Hindman got his first victory Thursday afternoon.

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

But the Trojans had to survive a comeback by Savanna to capture a 7-4 victory in the opening round of the Newport Elks Tournment at Uni.

“It was wild, it was awesome though, our guys played the game that we practiced,” said Hindman, who has been an assistant coach at Tustin for three years. “We practiced on being intense and going hard and we did a good job of it.”

The Trojans had a 4-0 lead through five innings and starting pitcher Alex Wetzel didn’t allow a hit. But Wetzel came out because of a pitch limit and Savanna (0-3) scored four runs in the top of the sixth off reliever Faraz Markazi before University cashed in four errors in the bottom of the inning to score three more runs.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ryan Shaw led off with a double for the Trojans and eventually came around to score on an errant pick-off attempt at first base.

Jackson Zambo, who singled, also scored and Beckett Kreter, who reached on an error, came around to score.

“All fall, we’ve been playing games and they’ve been a team that comes back late in the games,” Hindman said.

In the top of the seventh, relief pitcher Jackson LoBianco held off a threat by Savanna. With one out Jesus Manguia singled and Noel Monzon reached on an error. But LoBianco struck out the next two batters to seal the win.

The game started quietly enough when University took the lead in the second inning. Alex Qu doubled and scored on an RBI single by Zambo. In the fifth inning, the Trojans added two more runs.

Rahul Pal walked and came home on an RBI double by Noah Sperling. Then LoBianco singled to drive in another run.

Wetzel left after five hitless innings. He hit two batters and walked three.

Savanna rallied back. Alex Garcia singled and came home on an error. Munguia singled and scored on a sacrifice by Brian Knutsen. Then Josh Avina had an RBI single and Tyler Rude doubled to tie it up.

University outhit Savanna 9-6.

Hindman thanked his players in a brief meeting on the field after the game, expressing gratitude to them for his first win as a head coach.

“It’s been awesome, these guys are buying into everything and they’re trying to build a culture here and they won it, so it’s good for them,” Hindman said.

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