Just when it seemed as if a "Do Not Disturb" sign was hung on the Capistrano Valley High School bat rack, the Cougars finally started to make contact, and the result was the first baseball tournament victory in the school's history.
In Tuesday's final of the Bolsa Grande Tournament at Bolsa Grande, Capistrano Valley took advantage of seven timely hits, good pitching from Brett August, and bad baserunning and fielding by Leuzinger to defeat the Olympians, 9-2.
Before the game, Bob Zamora, Capistrano Valley baseball coach, was asked whether his team had finally started to hit, considering it had made it to the final of a competitive tournament, and he replied, "No, but we are starting to win, and that's more important."
Leuzinger, however, discovered in the first inning that the Capistrano Valley bats had quickly gone from listless to restless. The Cougars gave August all the cushion he needed in the first inning with four runs.
Capistrano Valley hit the ball well, but Leuzinger errors were as much to blame for the lopsided defeat as was the Cougars' offense.
In the first inning, for example, leadoff hitter Jeff Kelly was on first base when Danny Blancett hit a sharp grounder back to the pitcher.
The Leuzinger pitcher turned what looked to be an easy doubleplay into the start of a Capistrano Valley rally by throwing the ball into center field. The center fielder then threw it over the third baseman's head, but the ball bounced back into play before the baserunners could advance farther than second and third.
After two walks and a passed ball let in the first two runs, Capistrano Valley second baseman Nathan Call chopped the ball just over the third baseman's head, scoring two more runs and giving the Cougars a comfortable 4-0 lead.
Besides getting that key hit, Call had single-handedly taken the Olympians out of a first inning rally when he started a nifty doubleplay with a man on first and one out.
Call fielded a slow dribbler to second, tagged the runner going to second and then threw to first to complete the double. Leuzinger was out of a rally and August was out of the inning.
Capistrano Valley made it 7-0 in the third inning when catcher Matt Atwood tripled with the bases loaded. The ball went over the center fielder's head but Zamora, coaching at third, held Atwood instead of trying to let him get a grand slam.
The Cougars went on to score two more runs in the sixth inning before calling it a day.
Leuzinger scored once in the fourth inning and once in the sixth, with the first run unearned, but never really managed to mount a serious rally.
Capistrano Valley raised its record to 8-6, Leuzinger dropped to 11-5.
In other Bolsa Grande Tournament action:
Los Amigos 7, Artesia 6-- Rod Schmidtgall's three-run home run in the bottom of the second inning sparked Los Amigos in their 7-6 victory over Artesia in the consolation championship. The Lobos also scored two runs in the seventh inning on a three-base hit and Artesia error. A Mike Clodfelter sacrifice fly to center field gave the Lobos their seventh run.
Costa Mesa 4, Bolsa Grande 3--The Mustangs took advantage of two errors and a passed ball in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Matadors in the fifth-place game at Pacifica.
With one out in the eighth, third baseman Tom Neal reached on an error. He advanced to second on a single by Steve McIlroy. The next batter, Mike Crow, reached on an error to load the bases. One out later, Neal scored on a passed ball.
Costa Mesa (7-8) rallied from a 3-0 deficit by scoring two in the fifth and one in the sixth. Neal scored the first run in the fifth and drove in the tying run with a single in the sixth. He was 2 for 4.
David Austin (4-3) pitched the seventh and eight and got the win.