May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Woodbridge’s Max Montplaisir strikes out 14 and Warriors top Irvine 2-0

Danny Vasquez (left) and Max Montplaisir led Woodbridge to a victory over Irvine. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Woodbridge pitcher Max Montplaisir was on from the start and he just got better and stronger as the game went on Friday night.

The senior struck out 14 and threw a two-hit shutout to help Woodbridge defeat Irvine 2-0 in a Pacific Coast League baseball opener at Ryan Lemmon Stadium. Most of the stands were filled for the Woodbridge home game.

“I’m real proud of him, he deserved that one,” said Woodbridge Coach Ryan Brucker. “He’s our leader and he’s put in the work and he had a couple tough ones early. I was glad he stepped up. All his pitches were working.

“When he’s on, that’s what you get from him.”

Third baseman Danny Vasquez led the hitting attack, going 2 for 2 for Woodbridge (6-2, 1-0). He had an RBI double in the second inning, driving in Jack Bunnell who reached on an error and a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning that scored Matt Spear, who led off with a single.

Montplaisir (1-1) struck out the side three times, including in the seventh to end the game, which took only about 1 hour and 52 minutes to complete. Montplaisir, who has signed with Pt. Loma, walked three.

“It was really important, coach had always said since the beginning of the season the first league game was going to be the most important to set the tone,” Montplaisir said. “I know Ryan Barlow (Irvine pitcher) pretty well and I knew our guys were going to have a good pitcher on the mound for them.

“It was nice we got a run early in the second and after that, I kind of knew we were going to have it.”

Barlow also pitched well for Irvine (6-2, 0-1) allowing just one earned run and scattering six hits and striking out five.

Irvine’s best chance to score came in the second inning when Jordan Raymond doubled with two outs and Cameron Hicks walked. But Montplaisir got Chandler Hazlett to ground out to end the threat.

“That’s what this league is all about,” said Irvine Coach Gabriel Cota. “It was a great high school baseball game, give them credit, they studied their film and they were ready for us. They knew how to approach us but I tip my hat to Montplaisir, that kid was absolutely amazing.

“Sometimes a good pitcher is going to beat you and that’s what happened. I told the boys one game doesn’t win or lose anything, we just got to dust yourself off and get ready for Tuesday. I love the way we battled, that’s a good college pitcher that’s going to do well at the next level. We had a couple opportunities. If we had cashed those in, it’s a totally different ball game.”

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