MISSION VIEJO – Trinity League coaches and athletes say it all the time, that playing in that league is a great way to prepare for what’s to come.
“Every single game is a like a playoff game,” said Santa Margarita junior first baseman Luke Lavin. “You can’t take a pitch off, you can’ take a second off, because if you do the other team is going to get you.”
Santa Margarita, the No. 4 team from the Trinity League, defeated Sea View League champion Trabuco Hills 13-10 on Friday in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 first-round playoff game at Trabuco Hills High.
The Eagles (19-10) will play at Foothill (19-9) in a second-round game Tuesday. Foothill was one of four teams that had a first-round bye in Division 1.
Santa Margarita had 14 hits, and Trabuco Hills (23-6) had 12.
Lavin, who committed to Stanford, was 4 for 4 with four RBIs, four runs scored and a walk.
Eagles junior catcher Blake Balsz, a UCLA commit, was 3 for 4 with a two-run home run and four runs scored. Sophomore right fielder Logan de Groot, another UCLA commit, had three hits and an RBI, and Washington-committed junior shortstop Blake Wilson had two hits.
Luke Lavin drove in four runs for Santa Margarita, the No. 4 team from the Trinity League, in a 13-10 win over Sea View League champion Trabuco Hills @CIFSS Division 1 baseball first round @ocvarsity @mikehuntley63 @ocvarsityguy pic.twitter.com/M8q6bKz4gR
— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) May 7, 2022
Trabuco Hills junior shortstop Will Burns, who committed to Texas Tech, hit two sky-high, two-run homers. Mustangs junior third baseman Bobby Gray had three hits, including a double, and scored three runs.
Senior left fielder Tyler Collins hit a two-run homer and a single, and junior catcher Garrett Strenger and senior shortstop Drew Barrett contributed two hits each.
Santa Margarita coach Chris Malec, whose team was swept by Orange Lutheran in a three-game Trinity League series last week, suspected Friday’s game would be a high-scoring one.
“They (the Mustangs) have a really potent ball club,” Malec said. “They’re going to score a lot of runs, and we had to take our punches and just continue to stay after it. Our guys did a tremendous job of doing that.”
The offense started early. Santa Margarita’s three solid hits in the top of the first led to a 2-0 lead.
Trabuco Hills scored three runs, including Burns’ first two-run homer, to take a 3-2 lead.
Santa Margarita tied it in the top of the third, Trabuco Hills scored three in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 6-3 and Balsz’s homer in the top of the fourth made it 6-5.
A three-run top of the sixth gave the Eagles an 8-6 lead. Trabuco Hills tied it on Burns’ other two-run homer, and Santa Margarita used three hits with the help of two Mustangs errors to score five runs in the top of the seventh for a 13-8 lead.
Collins’ two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh concluded the scoring.
It was a different sort of game from the Eagles’ previous two playoff games, a 1-0 loss to Huntington Beach in the Division 1 first round last year and a 1-0 win over Norco in the Division 2 championship game in 2019.