May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Segerstrom starts fast and clinches share of league title with victory over Ocean View

Segerstrom coach Erasmo Ramirez talks to his players after Tuesday’s win that clinched a share of the title. (Photos: OC Sports Zone, Tim Burt).

Something had to give Tuesday afternoon in a battle of two undefeated Golden West League baseball teams at Segerstrom.

Segerstrom won its ninth in a row in league, defeating Ocean View 9-6 to capture at least a share of the league crown. Segerstrom (15-11-1, 9-0) can win the title outright with a win Thursday at Ocean View (18-8, 8-1).

Ocean View has won the last two league titles. With a victory Thursday, the Seahawks would share the crown with Segerstrom, which captured league titles in 2017 and 2018.

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

“It’s a credit to the boys we have on the team,” said Segerstrom Coach Erasmo Ramirez. “We’ve told them all along they’ve worked way too hard since mid-August when we started school, all the time in the weight room and the conditioning and the time in the cages, it could reflect at the end and it did.

“They earned this and worked extremely hard. For them to come in here and jump on these guys in the first two innings says a lot. They were ready and we got to tap our hat to Tanner (Coach VanMaanen) and his club over there. We knew coming in they were a solid, solid baseball team. They wouldn’t have made the jump up to the division they’re in if they weren’t a good program and we respect them and we know every time we play against an Ocean View team, it’s going to be a battle.”

Segerstrom scored five runs in the first and four more in the second and led 9-0 going into the top of the seventh. But Ocean View battled back with six runs and had the tying run at the plate before Zander Bretza, who came on in relief, got the final batter to ground out to earn his second save.

“It sets up well for our next game,” said VanMaanen, the Seahawks coach. “It’s a bunch of young guys who have never played in a big-time game like that and these guys (Segerstrom) did a great job. They came out with high energy and high tempo and they had their guy on the mound, and they were at home. We had all the elements going against us. But it was a good job by them. They did a great job of swinging it early and taking advantage, we made several errors that killed us and got a lot of their runs in those two innings.

“I was happy for our guys. That’s kind of been their theme all year, they’ve never really gone away. Down 9-0 and to bring the tying run to the plate in the last inning says something. That means you’re still trying to win a ball game even in what seems to be an impossible situation.”

Ocean View batted around sending 11 to the plate in the seventh. Sebastian Aparicio and Maddox Vermeeren had RBI singles and Quinton Custodia and Landon Runyan had RBI doubles before Bretza was able to get the final out.

“It’s awesome, this has been one of the games we’ve always been looking forward to,” said Bretza, a senior. “It feels really great to win it. Hopefully we can win our Thursday game too.”

Bretza knew what he wanted to do when he came on in relief of Cristian Galaviz, who relieved starter and winning pitcher Bruno Banuelos (7-1).

“Basically just shut those guys down, it was a big inning, I just had to stop the bleeding,” he said.

Bretza, a UNLV commit, also had two hits and two stolen bases and scored a run in the five-run first.

“I felt pretty good at the plate today, I saw some fastballs I was able to hit,” Bretza said.

Banuelos held Ocean View to just one hit through six innings and struck out three before Ocean View scored four runs off him in the seventh.

The nine runs Segerstrom scored in the first two innings gave the Jaguars enough of a cushion.

In the first inning, Bryan Cortez had a two-run single, Kenny Cabada drove in a run with a single and James Ashcraft knocked in two runs with a double.

Then in the second inning, Cortez blasted a three-run home run, his first of the season, in the Jaguars four-run outburst. Reggie Demetre drove home the other run on a fielder’s choice.

“We came out and our guys were ready, Bruno pitched a great game and he set the tone by throwing a great game,” Ramirez said. “We played some good defense and we jumped out to a good 9-0 lead which in the end was extremely helpful. But there is still work to be done. I didn’t like the fact we left way too many runners in scoring position in the later innings.

“We had to bring in one of our horses (Bretza) to end the game and it worked out.”

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