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Laguna Beach baseball continues to remain patient though offensive struggles

Breakers have scored just 15 runs over their past 11 games, but coaches and players remain confident

Laguna Beach outfielder Griffin Naess looks down the third base line to his coaches while batting during a high school baseball game against Gahr on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at the Ryan Lemmon Invitational at the Great Park in Irvine, Calif. (Ryan Kuhn, SOCoPrepSports.com)

IRVINE — The Laguna Beach baseball team has been trying to find a way to score runs. 

But it hasn’t been easy. 

Dating back well over a month, the Breakers have scored just 15 runs over their past 11 games. 

That includes getting shut out three times, the most recent was being a 6-0 loss to Gahr at the Ryan Lemmon Invitational in Irvine.  

“There’s frustration when your team in underachieving in certain areas but at the same time we know what we have and we are confident in our guys,” Laguna Beach coach Jairo Ochoa said. “These guys are being tested and the biggest thing is how are they going to respond.”

The Breakers struggles to plate runs comes after scoring 22 runs over their first three games. Since, a 4-0 win against El Toro in early March has been the biggest offensive output. 

“We have shuffled the lineup here and there based on how guys are going but it comes down to just simplifying things and trusting the process,” Ochoa said. “We need to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves.”

Laguna Beach (4-10-1, 0-2) had some opportunities as early as the third inning on Tuesday. 

Faced with a four-run deficit after the first inning Logan Pointon reached on a fielder’s choice followed by an infield single by Joey Capobianco. 

One inning later catcher Noah Neufield took advantage of an error and even found himself in scoring position after a walk to Colin Kidd but a fly out and a quick double play squashed any momentum. 

“These last few weeks have been pretty tough,” junior catcher Noah Nuefeld said. “As a group, our coaches just mentioned hitting is contagious and hopefully next game that can happen.”

Despite the Breakers’ struggles at the plate the pitching staff has given the team a lift and kept the team competitive. 

Capobianco, Pointon and Hunter Harrington combined for just three earned runs in the first two games of the Ryan Lemmon Invitational while Sam Burchi took the ball and made just his second start of the year against Gahr. 

He allowed six runs in the loss but Ochoa was pleased he kept the game within reach until Kyle Panganiban singled to right field in the fourth inning. 

“Sam is a guy that hasn’t had a lot of opportunities but did a really good job competing after that first inning,” Ochoa said. Our pitching staff is the backbone to tis ball club. We have five really good arms that give us a chance to win.”

Laguna Beach will conclude the Ryan Lemmon Invitational today when it faces Esperanza. The Aztecs have also struggled five out of their last six games. 

“We are still in it,” Ochoa said. “We need to make some minor adjustments offensively and once we figure that out there’s a chance to win league and head into playoffs.”

Ryan was born and raised in Dana Point went to Dana Hills High School. He graduated from Sacramento State University with a BA in Journalism. Throughout his career as a sports journalist, he has covered high schools, colleges, and professional teams. After working for multiple newspapers in as many states, he came to the conclusion that what he really wanted was to make sure the high schools in his hometown area got the sports coverage they deserved. Follow him on Twitter @rskuhn

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