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PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE BASEBALL ROUNDUP : Estancia, Watson Stop Laguna Hills

March 23, 1991|MICHAEL ITAGAKI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Estancia's Chris Watson resembled two pitchers during his complete-game, 5-3, Pacific Coast League victory over Laguna Hills on Friday at Estancia High School.

The "good" Watson coasted through four innings, keeping Laguna Hills (4-4, 2-1 league) hitless while facing one batter over the minimum while Estancia (5-3, 3-0) took a 1-0 lead.

But Laguna Hills tagged the "bad" Watson for seven hits over the final three innings. The Hawks collected four hits and two runs in the fifth inning to take a 2-1 lead after Jim Reynolds' single drove in Jeramy Gillen.

"Baseball is a nutty game," Estancia Coach Ken Millard said. "Pitchers have days like this in the big leagues, so why shouldn't it happen here?"

After Laguna Hills' Brian Kessler relieved starter Ted Wilkes and pitched perfect fourth and fifth innings, Estancia's offense clicked.

Estancia's first six batters of the sixth inning reached base on a double, four singles and a walk. Four runs scored for a 5-2 lead.

Watson highlighted the inning by doubling in Paul McDaniels and Colby French, and outfielder John Bean drove in Watson with a single.

Millard didn't want Watson to help Laguna Hills' offense by walking anybody in the seventh.

"The eighth- and ninth-place hitters were coming up," Millard said, "and we wanted to make sure they put it in play."

So Gillen, Laguna Hills' left-handed, eighth-place hitting outfielder, blasted Watson's first pitch of the seventh inning over the right-field fence for his second RBI of the game.

"We tell Watson to put it on a tee for those guys low in the batting order, and that kid knocks it out," Millard said. "Great strategy, huh?"

In other Pacific Coast League games:

Laguna Beach 12, Trabuco Hills 10 (called in bottom of 7th, darkness)--Mike Dennis hit a grand slam and a two-run home run for Laguna Beach (3-5-1, 2-1). Trabuco Hills had one runner on base in the bottom of the seventh but the game was called.

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