Fountain Valley High baseball Coach Deric Yanagisawa called it a "huge week" for his Barons, and rightfully so: they were about to embark on a two-game swing against Huntington Beach that would have a direct impact on the Sunset League race.
It turned out to be a beneficial week for the Barons who by virtue of their two wins over the Oilers, took over sole possession of first-place in a tight title chase.
Fountain Valley won a wild, 9-7 contest April 23, then led the entire way Friday in defeating the visiting Oilers, 6-0.
The two wins catapulted previously unranked Fountain Valley into the No. 3 slot in this week's CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll. Huntington, which was ranked No. 1 heading into the two games, dropped to No. 5.
"This was a huge week for us, and our guys played extremely well," Yanagisawa said after his team improved to 15-6 overall and 8-1 in league.
The first two innings of Friday's game had an eerily similar feel to the one the teams had played two days earlier at Huntington. In both instances, Fountain Valley jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Unlike the April 23 high-scoring game, however, this time, the Barons never relinquished the lead.
Behind the standout pitching of Scott Schultz and timely hitting from its offense, Fountain Valley claimed a 6-0 shutout that put the defending champions alone in first place in the league standings. The Barons entered the week trailing the Oilers by a single game in the standings but by virtue of back-to-back wins against the Oilers, occupied the top spot heading into this week.
"Scott [Schultz] pitched a great game," Yanagisawa said. "He's been good for us all year. For him to go out there, and shut down a very good Huntington Beach team, was just amazing."
The Barons' senior ace limited Huntington (15-4, 7-2) to two hits in a complete-game effort. Schultz, now 9-0, struck out five and walked two, and sent the Oilers down in order in the final three innings.
"That kid's good," Huntington Coach Benji Medure said of Schultz. "He put the ball where he wanted to, and kept us off balance. He's the reason they beat us.
"We lost because they were better than us in all facets today. They hit, fielded and pitched better than we did. They deserved the win."
Dillon Persinger drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to center field in the opening inning, Willie Aguilar, who had singled, scored on the play when a throw to the plate got away and went out of play. Daniel Patzlaff (two hits), JT Navarro and Brock Lundquist each had an RBI single in the bottom of the second to increase the lead to 5-0. The Barons added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Aguilar singled to center and later scored on Persinger's two-out single to center.
Fountain Valley staked its way to an early, 5-0 lead, April 23, lost that advantage and fell behind two runs, but scored the game's final four runs to emerge with a scintillating, 9-7 victory at Huntington. The game produced 19 hits, a big one being a grand slam in the top of the second by Patzlaff that put the Barons in front, 5-0.
Huntington rallied for two runs in the bottom of the second, then took its only lead by scoring five runs in the third. With one out and bases loaded in the third, Huntington's Marcus Mayorga ripped a two-run double to the wall, and Logan Pouelsen's ground-rule double drove in two more runs for a 6-5 lead for the Oilers. Daniel Amaral, MVP of the Hard 9 National Classic two weeks ago, flew out to right-center field but drove in Jesse Kuet to make it 7-5.
Fountain Valley retaliated immediately, a two-out rally in the top of the fourth producing three runs that put the Barons back on top for good. Junior Aguilar doubled in a run and Daniel Rosica crushed an 0-2 fastball for a two-run double to give the Barons an 8-7 lead. They scored the final run in the sixth when Persinger hit a two-out, RBI single.
Jarrett Anton and Kuet both singled in runs in the bottom of the second for Huntington which had its 12-game win streak snapped.
"It was a great game on both sides," Yanagisawa said. "In our last eight games with those guys (Huntington Beach), it's either been a one-run game, a close game, or a back-and-forth game. Huntington Beach is a very good ballclub, and they were rolling coming into this game. To get this game was absolutely huge for us."
The two wins gave Fountain Valley the league series with Huntington, 2-1. The Oilers won the first meeting, 2-1, March 26.
•Edison took on Newport Harbor twice last week, and split with the Sailors.