May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Villa Park hands Dana Hills first loss with 7-2 victory in finals of Ryan Lemmon series

Villa Park players and coaches celebrate the title Wednesday night. Guy Lemmon of the Ryan Lemmon Foundation joined in the picture. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Villa Park’s baseball team made the most of its opportunities and went on to defeat previously undefeated Dana Hills 7-2 in the championship game of the Ryan Lemmon series Wednesday night at the Orange County Great Park Stadium.

The Spartans were led by sophomore shortstop Gavin Grahovac, who was named tournament MVP. Grahovac capped a big week with a double in the third inning. He was also walked intentionally twice.

Villa Park (5-2) benefited by 12 walks and two hit batters by five Dana Hills pitchers. Dana Hills (9-1) was led by its MVP Ian May, who helped the Dolphins reach the finals with three wins. Dana Hills was ranked third in this week’s pre-season poll by OC Varsity.

“Our kids played really well this whole week, I thought they competed and that’s all I asked them to do and they found a way to win this week,” said Villa Park Coach Burt Call. “We knew they were a good team and highly ranked so we knew we were going to have a game where we had to compete. I think our guys maintained their composure and just competed this game.

Call said his team had stressed being disciplined and it paid off.

“Our guys were able to work counts and did a great job moving the line moving and next guy up,” he said.

Dana Hills took a 1-0 lead with a run in the first inning. Aeden Anderson and Jack Moulin singled and the run scored when Rocco DiFrancesco reached on an error.

Villa Park moved ahead 2-1 with two runs in the third inning. Aaron Perez had an RBI double to drive in Grahovac and later scored on a wild pitch.

Dana Hills tied the contest 2-2 with a run in the third inning. Sam Lund tripled and scored on an error but with two outs, reliever Isaac Ontiveros came on to work out of trouble. He shut out Dana Hills the rest of the way, striking out seven and ended the game by striking out the side.

“He’ pitched really well for us, he’s been a three-year starter for us and got the victory Saturday and then came back on short rest and got the victory tonight,” Call said. “He’s a competitor out there and we love it when he’s on the mound.”

Villa Park broke the game open with three runs in the top of the fourth inning, cashing in five walks. Brady Watson and Britton Beeson had bases l;oaded walks and Benny Vogel, trying to sacrifice, reached on a bunt single.

Call was pleased with Grahovac’s week too which included two home runs.

“He had a great tournament, he had the big home run, the two-run shot yesterday against Yucaipa to put us up and he has done a great job at the plate,” Call said.

Grahovac was well aware of the challenge going into the game.

“We had to play our hearts out,” said the Arizona-State commit who is only a sophomore. “This was a team effort and every guy came out here and we were ready to go. We were prepared from the first pitch.”

—-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;