That Mission Viejo High School had 17 hits Tuesday in its 11-5 rout of Santa Clara in the second round of the Southern Section 2-A playoffs came as something of a shock to Coach Ron Drake.
"It was a little out of character," he said.
Actually, a lot out of character. During the regular season, back-to-back singles constituted a big rally for light-hitting Mission Viejo.
But against the Saints, the Diablos looked as though they were taking batting practice. The Diablos got a grand slam by No. 9 hitter Phil Mangram, a triple and three doubles.
Mangram's second-inning homer, which just cleared the left-field wall at Mission Viejo's field, gave the Diablos (18-6), the third-place representative from the South Coast League, a 4-1 lead.
Santa Clara (13-6), the second-place representative from the Frontier League, came back with four unearned runs in the top of the third to take a 5-4 lead before Mission Viejo went ahead for good in the bottom of the inning with four runs. The key hits were RBI singles by Brendan Murphy and Mangram and a two-run double by Robert D'Marino.
Mangram, D'Marino and Don Roberson all had three hits to lead the Diablos, who eliminated Santa Clara in the quarterfinals last year, 1-0.
Mission Viejo starter Matt Lackie was ineffective, allowing five hits in 2 innings. But his successors, Kyle Abbott (4-2), who earned the victory, and Jack Bailey, who was credited with a save, combined to limit Santa Clara to only one hit in the final 4.
Santa Clara, meanwhile, got no help from its bullpen. After starter Tom Petrucci allowed four runs and four hits in 1 innings, loser Mike Teron (3-2) gave up three runs and six hits in 1 and Frank Madrid four runs and seven hits in 3.
Mission Viejo will play Diamond Bar, which defeated the Diablos in the 2-A final last year, in a quarterfinal game Friday.
"We're anxious for the challenge," Drake said. "If we hit like we did today, we'll have a shot."
In other 2-A action:
Irvine 7, Garden Grove 0--Senior Brian Snoddy threw a two-hit shutout leading the Vaqueros to a second-round playoff victory over Argonauts (15-8) in Garden Grove.
Snoddy (12-2) had nine strikeouts and only one walk and had a perfect game through four innings. Irvine (21-8-1) took an early lead off losing pitcher Mark Kiefer (9-3) when Rick Smetanka, who was 2 for 2 with two runs scored, tripled and scored on a passed ball in the second inning.
Center fielder Mike Moceri was 2 for 3 with two runs scored and catcher Steve Habermehl was 2 for 3 with one RBI and a run scored.
Irvine plays Artesia Friday in the quarterfinal round.