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Juniors lead Huntington Beach baseball past Maranatha in Boras Classic South – Orange County Register

Huntington Beach’s Trevor Goldenetz, left, lets out a scream after hitting a double against Maranatha in the second round of the Boras Classic baseball tournament in Santa Ana on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

With many juniors on its roster this season, the Huntington Beach baseball team could be a year away from having a special team.

Why wait?

The Oilers advanced to the semifinals of the Boras Classic South on Wednesday with a 6-1 win over Maranatha in the second round at Mater Dei High.

Huntington Beach (13-4 overall), ranked No. 4 in the Orange County Top 25, will face La Mirada or Mater Dei in the semifinals on Thursday.

Maranatha, ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division 2, fell to 10-4.

Several junior players made key contributions to the Oilers: designated hitter Trent Grindlinger, who had two hits, drove in one run and scored twice; center fielder Trevor Goldenetz, who went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI; right-hander Tyler Bellerose, who pitched the first four innings, allowed one run on two hits with four strikeouts and four walks; and right-hander Jake Frohn, who shut out Maranatha over the final three innings.

Huntington Beach has won six in a row, including three Surf League victories that put the Oilers at 4-1 in league play, after being shut out in back-to-back games.

What is behind this improvement?

“I honestly don’t know what happened,” Huntington Beach coach Benji Medure said. “We have changed our practice a little.”

Including an unusual brain exercise for players…

“We had them lay down on the grass without their shoes on and had them visualize for a little while,” Medure said. “I’m not saying that’s it, but it kind of calmed them down mentally and realized how good they are.

“When they have difficulties and they don’t see results, they start to worry. So we just tried to get them out of their heads and focus on the process and it started to work.

Maranatha took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Josh Proctor hit a one-out single and advanced to third base when Thomas Lieb and Zach Strickland walked. Proctor scored on Eric Zdunek’s groundout.

The Oilers took the lead for good with two points in the bottom of the first. Goldenretz doubled to right-center field, took third on Linkin Garcia’s deep fly to left field and scored on Grindlinger’s team-leading 10th double of the season. Grindlinger, who is committed to Mississippi State, scored from second on Jayton Greer’s single to left field for a 2-1 lead.

Tony Martinez made an error to lead half of the second inning at Huntington Beach. Travis Curry’s sacrifice bunt moved Martinez to second base and Martinez scored from there on John Petrie’s single to left to make it 3-1.

The Oilers sent nine batters to the plate in the third inning to score three runs and increase the lead to 6-1. Grindlinger led off with a single, Greer was hit by a pitch, Martinez singled to load the bases and Petrie was hit by a pitch to send Grindlinger home. Ethan Porter and Goldenretz hit back-to-back RBI singles.

Porter, like Garcia and Greer, is a junior.

Huntington Beach will be even younger in Thursday’s semifinals. The Oilers starting pitcher will be freshman Jared Grindlinger.

“We have a little freshman going as a couple.” said Medure. “Then we’ll try to piece it together and try to finish this thing.”

In the National Classic:

Gahr 4, Santa Margarita 3: The Eagles (11-5-1) lost in the quarterfinals when the Gladiators scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Ben Finnegan had two hits and drove in three runs for Santa Margarita.

The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in Orange County, beat Damien 12-4 in the first round on Tuesday.

In the Highway League:

Fullerton 7, Sunny Hills 4: Christian Robinson had two points for league-leading Fullerton (14-5-1, 3-0).

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