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By Steve Breazeale
With their backs up against the walls of the Sea View League standings the Dana Hills baseball team got a much needed two-game sweep of second place Aliso Niguel on April 8 and April 9.
Heading into the first game of the series, the Dolphins had not won a league game and their record stood at 0-4. That all changed as they looked to their top two pitchers, seniors Grant Dyer and Blake Taylor, who delivered sharp performances.
Dyer was pitted against Wolverines standout sophomore Kyle Molnar on April 8 and the two turned in a classic pitcher’s duel. Dyer wound up pitching a complete game shutout while Molnar went the distance, giving up the one and only run of the game for his first loss of the season. The Dolphins won 1-0 and finally scratched in the league win column.
It was after that game that Dana Hills head coach Tom Faris saw his team shift gears. The Dolphins (13-9, 2-4 league) carried their efforts over to April 9, where their potent offense was backed up by a 6 2/3 inning effort from Taylor in an 8-1 victory.
“Beating (Molnar), who’s very, very good, built the momentum for (April 9). I know (Aliso Niguel) was trying to probably put us out of our misery with (Molnar pitching) but our guys came to play and I’m really proud of them because they haven’t given up,” Faris said. “A lot of teams, being down 0-4 in league, would have probably cashed it in…These guys aren’t doing that. They’re not made that way.”
In the two-game series Dyer and Taylor combined to pitch 13 1/3 innings, allowed 12 hits, walked three, struck out 13 and gave up only one run.
The Dolphins offense on April 9 thrived on stringing together hits and executing when they had to.
In the bottom of the first inning, Taylor helped his own cause by hitting an RBI double with two outs to the opposite field that made it 1-0.
The score was still 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Dolphins senior Victor Sepulveda knocked in a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Junior catcher Zack Wagner would bring a run home with another sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth before senior third baseman CJ Angle delivered the biggest hit of the game by ripping a three-run RBI double down the left field line that blew the door open at 8-0.
“It’s one of the things that’s been lacking. The clutch hits, the two-out hits…We’re now getting two-strike hits. Guys are changing their approach and getting those things done and when we need them to get done,” Faris said. “Guys are buying in, it’s starting to go in our favor so hopefully we can keep going.”