Huntington Beach wins Division 1 regional baseball title

A day that began with an overcast, gloomy sky in Orange County ended with sunshine and a pumped-up Huntington Beach’s Ralph Velazquez being hugged and bullied by teammates.

It was his eighth-inning double home run that sealed the deal in a 2-0 win over San Juan Capistrano JSerra in Saturday’s Southern California Regional Division I baseball championship game.

“I’m speechless right now,” Velazquez said. “I don’t know what to say. It’s the greatest moment with my boys. It’s crazy. It’s insane.”

Huntington Beach (25-9), a team eliminated in the semifinals of the Southern Section Division 1 Playoffs, found a way to win it all behind senior pitcher Matt Lopez, who is heading to Northern Kentucky. He gave up seven hits in the first four innings but never wavered and left after throwing seven scoreless innings. Ben Jacobs earned the save.

“I had to get out with a bang,” Lopez said.

First up was Oregon State’s Tyler Gough, who gave up two hits in six innings for JSerra. Then Vanderbilt-tied David Horn threw a scoreless seventh for JSerra. In the eighth, Louisiana state commit, Matt Champion took over. With an out, just as Velazquez got his run onto the field, a strong breeze suddenly felt. A fan shouted, “Go.” The ball was carried over the left fence.

Huntington Beach coach Benj Medure watched from the dugout and said: “My mind was just spinning. I did the Carlton Fisk dance to find out.

Southern Section Division 1 champion JSerra (25-11) wasted too many chances. There was a failed suicide squeeze and two double plays. JJ Hollins had a single, double and triple for the Lions.

Huntington Beach’s Aiden Espinoza hit twice, including a single-out in the eighth inning, before Velazquez hit his home run through.

Huntington Beach players celebrate their Division I regional title

Huntington Beach players celebrate their Division I regional title

(Nick Koza)

“I looked up, ‘It has a chance,'” Velazquez said of what was going through his mind.

What an end for an Oilers team that was set to compete next season with six returning starters, including Velazquez.

5 Newport Harbor, Westlake Village Oaks Christian 1: Trent Liolios had three hits to help Newport Harbor win the Division III regional championship. He also had three shutout innings on the mound.

Costa Mesa Estancia 11, Baldwin Park 2: Jack Moyer had four hits in the Division V championship game.

Torrey Pines 19, Etiwanda 8: Junior Barajas had four RBIs for Torrey Pines in the Division II Finals.

Tesoro 6, Fullerton 4: Jackson Freeman had a home run and four RBIs to help Tesoro win the Division IV championship.

soft ball

Westlake Village Eichen Christian 6, Eastvale Roosevelt 5: The Lions finished a near-perfect season, winning 34 of 35 games while also winning the Division I regional championship.

A four-run third inning and a two-run home run by Lily Knox was key to the Lions’ victory over the Southern Section Division 1 champions. Roosevelt closed at 6-5 in the sixth, helped by a two-run single from Alexa Lopez .

In the seventh, Roosevelt loaded the bases with two outs, but Micaela Kastor, who was tied to Notre Dame and chose to stay with her high school team that weekend rather than play club games, ended it with a strikeout.

Long Beach St. Anthony 2, Temple Town 1: Miracle McKenzie lived up to her first name by hitting a two-run double in the seventh inning to propel St. Anthony to the Division III championship.

Temple City’s Kassandra Gewecke kept St. Anthony scoreless for six innings, but a single walk and wild pitch in the seventh put the runners in second and third place. Then McKenzie made the “miracle” comeback. Rose Cano completed the seventh place floor for the win.

Chula Vista Mater Dei 15, Torrance 9: Mater Dei won the Division II championship game in eight innings. Huntington Beach wins Division 1 regional baseball title

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