By Zach Cavanagh
The Dana Hills baseball team has hit a rut in South Coast League play.
After winning their league opener against Mission Viejo on March 29, the Dolphins have lost their last four league games, including a stretch of seven losses in eight games through the Ryan Lemmon Tournament over spring break.
Dana Hills (7-14, 1-4) had the opportunity to steal some league momentum at home on Tuesday, April 12.
Last season, the Dolphins split the league title three ways with Mission Viejo and Capistrano Valley, while going 1-2 against both teams and 5-1 against the rest of the league. Dana Hills knew it had some leeway, but with its run of recent play, the Dolphins had to get on track fast.
Early on against the Cougars on Tuesday, the Dolphins had the elements on their side on a particularly blustery day in Dana Point. The ball danced out of starting pitcher Bo Kelly’s hand as the wind made the baseball act like a Whiffle ball, as some Capo Valley players remarked as they struck out and walked back to the dugout. Kelly struck out seven of the first nine Cougars.
The wind also helped Capo Valley, as a couple long fly balls turned into solo home runs in the second, third and fourth innings. The Cougars blew the game open in that fourth inning with a grand slam home run for a 7-0 lead.
However, Dana Hills stormed back in the fifth with eight singles, including a bases-loaded, run-scoring safety-squeeze bunt by Kade Murray, to score seven runs and tie the game, 7-7. Jack Moulin had a two-run single, and Sebastian Moore, Grant Faris, Garrett Leite and Ryan Edwards all collected RBI.
But the momentum ceased quickly for the Dolphins, as Capo Valley’s bats came alive in the sixth for a four-run inning that would hold up in an 11-7 win.
Capo Valley won the following day at home, 6-1, on Wednesday, April 13.
Dana Hills hosts the Cougars one more time on Friday, April 15, but the Dolphins have an uphill battle in front of them.
Dana Hills plays three games against El Toro next week, with two on the road, and another series against Tesoro to close the season.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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