The 2014 prep baseball season is not even a month old, but the start to what is sure to be a fun Sunset League race already gets underway Friday.
The first games in the first round of league play finds defending champion Fountain Valley traveling to face Los Alamitos, Marina hosting Edison, and Huntington Beach home to Newport Harbor.
First pitch for all three games is 3:15 p.m.
Two Sunset teams enter league play ranked among the top 10 in CIF Southern Section Division 1: Los Alamitos is No. 2 and Huntington No. 6.
•Edison played a nonleague doubleheader Monday against Long Beach Poly, and split with the visiting Jackrabbits. Poly took the first game, 9-8, but Edison claimed a 1-0 win in Game 2.
In the opening game, Edison held an 8-1 lead but Poly scored eight runs in the fourth inning to go in front for good. Junior Kevin Ando went three for four with a double to pace the Chargers.
In Edison's 1-0 win in the second game, senior right-hander Aaron Satterfield scattered three hits and didn't allow a run in five innings in a pitching rotation that also saw senior Jason McLellan and juniors Noah Kronfly and Michael Mahony take the mound. Pinch hitter Wyatt Bersch started the ninth with a double and scored the winning run on a single by junior Nick Mailman.
The Chargers also won the consolation championship of the Loara Tournament.
"We have been playing consistently well thus far in all phases of the game, especially on the mound and defensively," Edison Coach Cameron Chinn said. "If we can get big hits with runners in scoring position, we should be able to give Marina a good game."
•Fountain Valley completed play Saturday at the Loara Tournament, and defeated Villa Park, 9-3, to finish 3-2 at the tournament. Senior pitcher Scott Schultz got the win, seniors Dillon Persinger and Brock Lundquist each homered, and juniors Willie Aguilar and Justin Navarro each had two hits for the Barons (4-3).
"We have played two good games thus far where we pitched and hit," Fountain Valley Coach Deric Yanagisawa said. "We will continue to piece together our pitching.
"Scott Schultz has stepped up thus far and has given us some quality starts. After that, we've been going to different guys to give us some innings. I've relied on Justin Navarro more than I wanted to but he's such a competitor that he's always asking for the ball. We need some of our returning guys to step up and pitch like they can. Offensively, we haven't been as productive as last year. Our execution has been poor and when you're in close games, those mistakes get magnified even more.
"It's still early in the year and with the experience we have, we'll make adjustments. Hopefully, they come this Friday against Los Al. Were probably facing one of the best pitchers in the county in Jacob Nix. He's a three-year starter and he'll have a big year. Hopefully, we can take some good at-bats against him on Friday. We have to be prepared to win a one run ball game. Runs will be at a premium when you face Los Al. To be honest, every team in the Sunset League has some pitching. It's going to be a battle each and every game."
•Huntington Beach dropped its final game Friday at the Newport Elks Tournament. The Oilers held a 4-0 lead on Trabuco Hills in the sixth inning but ended up with a 5-4 loss.
Huntington rebounded Monday to take a 4-2 nonleague game from visiting Aliso Viejo to run its record to 4-2. Sophomore Logan Pouelsen's two-run home in the bottom of the fifth broke a 1-1 tie and got the save. Senior Jesse Kuet had two hits for the Oilers.
Huntington Coach Benji Medure said that junior Noah Davis (2-0) will get the start in Friday's Sunset opener against Newport Harbor.
"Our league is wide open this year," Medure said. "Every team this year can make a run at the championship. Every team is deep in pitching and defense, and Newport is no exception. Newport has two [NCAA] D-1 pitchers [Shaun Vetrovec and Connor Seabold] that can shut any team down, so we have a huge challenge ahead of us.