June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Woodbridge baseball team edges Tustin in non-league game

Players from Woodbridge (black jerseys) and Tustin exchange handshakes after the game. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Woodbridge High School’s baseball team held on for a 5-4 non-league victory over Tustin Friday afternoon in the season opener for the Warriors at Ryan Lemmon Stadium.

Trailing 5-2 going into the seventh inning, Tustin (1-2) scored two runs on an RBI single by Jack Crain and a wild pitch that scored Elijah Smith. But Woodbridge pitcher Vincent DeMarco got Jackson Key to ground out to end the game.

“It was a good way to start the season, definitely some things we need to clean up, a couple errors that we made defensively and baserunning, we got picked off a couple times,” said Woodbridge Coach Ryan Brucker. “But overall, for the first time out, I think we did pretty well, I liked the way our guys approached the game offensively. We did a lot of the little things, put runners in scoring position and took advantage of some of their mistakes.”

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Augustine Nagoya pitched the first three innings, Alex Johnson came on in the fourth inning and Vincent DeMarco finished the game to earn the win for the Warriors. Woodbridge won the Pacific Coast League title last season finishing 23-6 overall.

“I liked the way our pitchers attacked the zone,” Brucker said.

Tustin held a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning.

But the Warriors rallied with two runs. Anthony DeMarco walked to lead off and with one out, Dylan Mutuc reached on an error in the outfield allowing DeMarco to score. Alex Serafin then drove home Mutuc with a perfect sacrifice bunt to put the Warriors ahead 3-2.

Woodbridge added a run in the fifth inning when Michael Rubino singled and came around to score on a wild pitch and one more in the sixth on an RBI double by Rubino that drove in Serafin, who singl;ed.

Anthony DeMarco had a sacrifice fly in the first inning driving in Nolan Stottlemyer, who singled to lead off for Woodbridge to tie the game 1-1.

Tustin, which outhit Woodbridge 10-8, was led by Crain, who was 3 for 4 with three RBI and two doubles and leadoff hitter Roman Lavander, who was 3 for 4 with three runs scored.

Nathan Walraven pitched the first four innings before being relieved by Nyte Teeter in the fifth.

“They executed and credit to them,” said Tustin Coach Ben Owens. “The difference in the baseball game is us making a couple of mistakes and they capitalized. We’re going to learn and grow and get ready for next week and feel better about ourselves moving forward.”

“He saw it well today, the two doubles were big, especially the one in the first and the third and getting us with a chance to tie the ball game up with that last hit. I know he’s been working hard to get to that next stage in the development of his career and today was a good showcase what he can do. I’m very, very proud of him.”

The game also marked the return of former long-time head coach Bob Flint, who rejoined the Woodbridge staff as an assistant coach. Flint, who turns 79 next week, said it’s his 56th year coaching high school baseball.

“I played for him so I’ll always take Coach Flint in any capacity. He’s helping with the pitchers obviously and he comes when he can, which is pretty much every day,” said Brucker, who used to play for Flint when Flint coached at Irvine. “He’s going to be an asset all year long.”

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