June 14, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Two big innings and strong pitching lift undefeated Estancia past Century

Estancia coaches talk to the Eagles after Friday’s victory. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Estancia High School’s baseball team put together two big innings Friday and got a complete game from senior Miles Moyer to defeat Century 9-0 in a non-league game at Estancia.

The two teams went into the game with 4-0 records.

Estancia (5-0) scored three runs in the first inning off Century starter Andy Santana and then added six insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to break it open. Moyer (2-0) allowed just two hits and struck out five.

“Overall, we’re off to a great start at the plate all year so to come out in the first inning and get three runs was key for us to set the tempo of the game knowing we’re playing a well-coached team and a good pitcher,” said Estancia Coach Nate Goellrich. “It helped settle Miles down on the mound early on.

“Offensively, we’ve been doing great things so far, hopefully that can continue. Miles was great, that was classic Miles, he was locating his two-seam and fastball both in and out and up and in, he did a great job, it was a low pitch count, so we were able to save our arms for tomorrow (Saturday). We got a lot of games coming up.”

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The Eagles started the bottom of the first inning when John Uchtyl reached on an error and Jake Humphries and Cole Lefebvre singled. Sawyer Atkinson had an RBI single and Andrew Mits a sacrifice fly. Lefebvre came home on a double steal attempt, although Century was able to notch an out on the play.

Then it was up to Moyer to complete the deal. He worked out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings to preserve the shutout.

“I feel like I threw a lot of strikes and I had my defense back me up,” said Moyer. “I feel like that’s what wins us games. I’m not really a strikeout pitcher, I had five, but they really backed me and they scored nine runs and that really helped me out and put some confidence on my shoulders and helped us get through the game. Part of our success is chemistry and confidence, that’s our biggest thing.”

After a tough first inning, Santana, the Century starter, settled down throwing four shutout innings before Estancia exploded for six runs in the sixth. Santana, a junior, threw a no-hitter earlier this season vs. Westminster. Riley Witte had a two-run double in the inning and Century also had two errors in the sixth.

“He pitched well, the first inning, they jumped on him and we made the error to start off the game, and then they jumped on him and they got back to back to back hits and then he settled down and he started mixing it in and he pitched really well, good enough to win,” said Century Coach Theo Cortes said.

“It was very uncharacteristic, the first and the sixth innings, those were the innings, we didn’t play defense, if we play defense, our kids throw enough strikes and they keep us in the game and for the most part they have been.”

Miguel Munoz came on in relief of Santana on the mound for Century in the sixth inning.

Andrew Coyotzi, who was 1 for 3 with an RBI and a double; Bennett Molica, who was 2 for 4 with an RBI and Nico Viramontes, who was 2 for 4 with a run scored, also contributed offensively for Estancia.

Estancia has a number of players returning from the 2022 team that was the CIF Division 6 and SoCal Division 5 champion. The Eagles were 21-7 last year and captured the Orange Coast League title.

“We’ve got a lot of returners and a lot of guys who won CIF two years ago, this group does a great job competing day in and day out with each other in practice and it shows in the games,” Goellrich said. “We have great team chemistry right now and we have a lot of pitching so we will be in the hunt hopefully for the league title. Our league is a strong league and we have to come out prepared.”

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