According to Gary Burrows, the No. 9 hitter in Estancia High School's batting order, there's really no secret to hitting Tustin's ace pitcher, Monte Jones.
"He throws the ball with an even rotation," Burrows said. "I like hitting against him because you can see the pitch right off his hand."
Burrows showed just how to hit Jones in the bottom of the seventh inning on Wednesday, lining a one-out single that scored teammate Mark Hartley to give Estancia a 1-0 victory in Costa Mesa.
The victory moved Estancia (13-5, 6-2) into a first-place tie with Tustin (11-7, 6-2) in the Sea View League and avenged an earlier 1-0 loss to Jones & Co.
Estancia's Gabe Javage (6-1) allowed five hits and gave up only a intentional walk. Jones (6-1), the county's strikeout leader, walked five and struck out seven.
Jones had allowed only two hits entering the seventh when Hartley reached on an error by Tustin second baseman Chris Varvarinecz with one out. Hartley stole second and then moved to third on a wild pitch by Jones.
Burrows worked Jones to a 3-2 count and then lined a fastball to the gap in left-center field that easily scored Hartley for the winning run. Burrows had two of Estancia's three hits, matching his output the last time he faced Jones.
"I like hitting against him. . . . I like hitting against Tustin," Burrows said. "He threw me a fastball right down the middle. I guess he didn't want to walk me and load the bases."
Vince Brown, Tustin's coach, said he called for a fastball, admitting he didn't want to walk Estancia's No. 9 hitter to load the bases with the leadoff hitter coming to the plate.
"I was hoping to get him out with a fastball," Brown said. "Monte struggled today. I think we was pressing and trying to be too fine. You just saw two teams who wanted to get the win real badly."
Tustin blew its best scoring opportunity in the top of the seventh. First baseman Erik Grove led off the inning with a base hit and was replaced by pinch runner Kevin Jurkowski.
Jurkowski moved to second on a sacrifice and then went to third on a passed ball. But Jurkowski was left stranded at third when Varvarinecz struck out and teammate Bill Filbert grounded out on a fine play by Estancia shortstop Jason White.
In another Sea View League game:
Saddleback 6, University 3--Mike Arroyos (4-3) pitched six innings and Frank Fonseca worked the final inning for the save for host Saddleback (5-3, 9-8). J.J. Fejeran had three hits and scored two runs, and Jeff Blanco had two hits and four RBIs including a three-run double in the sixth, for Saddleback.