Edison High baseball Coach Cameron Chinn earlier in the week felt that a big key for his Chargers in their Sunset League opener against Marina, would be the ability to produce offensively with runners in scoring position. Do that, and Chinn believed his team could give the host Vikings a "good game."
The Chargers did achieve that key aspect, and it led to a victory. They used timely hitting to rally from an early, two-run deficit to post a 6-4 win.
Edison scored its six runs over three innings, built a 6-2 lead, then held off the Vikings.
"This game showed our poise," the first-year Edison coach said. "In the top of the first, we put our first two batters on base, but couldn't finish. They come back to score two runs, but we responded right away and took the lead.
"We had talked earlier this week about maintaining our poise, and I thought our guys did just that today. I really thought Noah [Kronfly] exemplified that poise after falling behind."
Kronfly got the start for Edison. After giving up two runs in the bottom of the first inning, the junior right-hander held Marina scoreless until the bottom of the sixth where he gave up a third run. He exited the game with two out and runners at first and second. Junior Nate Madden took over.
Kronfly gave up six hits, struck out three, walked three and hit a batter in improving to 2-0.
Marina got to Kronfly early, getting three of its hits in the bottom of the first. Lead-off hitter Austin Sojka doubled to the fence in right-center field, junior KJ Spiratos ripped a two-out single to score Sojka, and Spiratos went on to score when Chase Sebby drove his first pitch into center field past a diving Philip Knapp for a double.
Edison (7-3 overall) retaliated immediately. Junior Jake Scott drew a full-count walk to start the second and junior Mike Mahony next drilled a double to the fence in right field to send Scott to third. One out later, Knapp tripled to deep center field to drive in both Scott and Mahony to tie the score.
"Mike Mahony hadn't been starting recently, but he has worked really hard and earned a start today," Chinn said. "He took advantage of his situation, and he had a big day.
"Our game plan today was to put the ball in play."
Edison, which earlier had runners at second and third in the top of the first but failed to score, went into the lead for good after Knapp's triple.
Junior Nick Mailman was hit by a pitch which put runners at the corners with still one out in the top of the second. Marina looked as though it would get out of the inning with a tie score when Edison senior Brian Schales hit a grounder toward the middle. Mailman was forced out at second but Schales was safe first. Knapp scored on the grounder, and the Chargers had their first lead at 3-2.
They scored twice more in the top of the third. Senior Parker Quenneville started a two-out rally with a single and Scott singled, sending Quenneville to third. A low pitch in the dirt to Mahony by Marina starter Steven Gingery got past catcher Landon Marshall, and Quenneville came in for Edison's fourth run. On the next pitch, Mahony singled sharply into left field, bringing home Scott to make it 5-2.
"We need to play better defense," Marina Coach Bob Marshall said. "We mis-played two balls in the outfield that led to runs for them. We're young, and we're making young mistakes.
"We got off to a real good start. We were up, but them the momentum shifted. Our ace [Gingery] wasn't on today."
The Chargers' final run was scored in the top of the fourth. Knapp was hit by pitch to start the frame, was bunted to second by Mailman and with two out, scored when senior Adam Moses slapped a 1-2 pitch for a single to shallow left field.
Marina drew to within 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Sojka delivered a two-out, RBI single to right field to score junior Garrett Malter who drew a lead-off walk. Kronfly was replaced by Madden who then promptly got Austin Moore to ground out for the final out of the inning.
The Vikings loaded the bases, getting a double from Spiratos, on Madden with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh. Madden was taken out and replaced by sophomore Kaz Akamatsu. Malter, the first batter Akamatsu faced, hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score pinch runner Remington Balboa to make it 6-4. Junior Tyler Mathews came to the plate and on an 0-1 count hit back to the mound where Akamatsu fielded the grounder and started a double play that ended the game.
Akamatsu (2-1) earned his first save.
Gingery threw four innings before being replaced by sophomore left-hander Shadi Asad who was solid in two innings pitched. Junior Jared Harmon threw the seventh for the Vikings and sent the Chargers down in order.
Edison has a quick turnaround as it returns to action Saturday for a doubleheader at its own tournament. The Chargers host Compton Centennial at 10 a.m., then face Laguna Hills at 3 p.m.
Both the Chargers and Marina resume league play Wednesday. Edison travels to meet Newport Harbor and Marina plays host to Los Alamitos.
In other Sunset League openers Friday, Logan Pouelsen hit a three-run home run and host Huntington Beach (5-2), the sixth-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 1, defeated Newport Harbor, 8-4. Defending league champion Fountain Valley (5-3) scored a 7-4 road victory at Los Alamitos.