Santa Margarita baseball piles up the walks, hits in victory over Damien in National Classic – Orange County Register

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA — The Santa Margarita baseball team opened the National Classic with a dominating 12-4 victory over Damien Tuesday at Santa Margarita High.

Thirteen batters reached base for Santa Margarita (11-4-1) and 10 different batters drove in runs. The Eagles tied their season record with 10 walks.

“We had a lot of really good at-bats,” Santa Margarita coach Chris Malec said. “They were patient and ready to swing as soon as they got into the zone. It’s a challenge when you get 10 walks, but our guys did a good job staying disciplined.

The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the Register Top 25, will face Gahr on Wednesday at Irvine Valley College. Santa Margarita defeated Gahr 4-2 earlier this season at the PBR Invitational Tournament in February.

Santa Margarita beat Damien (8-7-1) 9-2 earlier this season in a non-league match. This game was similar to Tuesday’s as the Eagles drew nine walks in the first game.

The Eagles had the bases loaded with one out in the first when Warren Gravely IV hit a sacrifice fly to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

With the bases loaded again, Jake Lavin was hit by a pitch to extend the lead to 2-0 in the first.

Gavin Spiridonoff hit a two-run double in the second inning to extend the lead to four. Spiridonoff went 1-for-1 with two walks and a stolen base.

Santa Margarita pitcher Cade Townsend threw well but had control issues. The Ole Miss commit allowed two runs in four innings with one hit, five walks and seven strikeouts. Both races allowed by Townsend took place on wild terrain.

“He probably had to wait 25 minutes between rounds, so it was hard for him to keep up the pace,” Malec said. “He did a really good job of throwing zeros and staying there. He’ll only get sharper in his next league start next week.

Trevor Banning and Logan de Groot each drew walks in the third inning for the Eagles. Brody Schumaker also drove in a run with a single in the third. He went 2 for 3 with an RBI.

“The boys are all hot and seeing the ball well right now,” Schumaker said. “When I don’t play well, the boys behind me can pick it up, and when I do well, they can bring me in, so that feels good.”

Santa Margarita cleared its bench in the fifth inning. Blake Ankrum and Austin Sanders had hits in the inning and Delmar Perez hit a two-run homer over the wall in right field to make it 12-2.

“Delmar did a good job staying ready and he was huge for us with quality hitters,” Malec said. “Our guys that came off the bench were ready to go and that speaks to their maturity and commitment to their teammates.”

Damien used seven pitchers in the loss and all 12 runs were earned. Utah signee Nikko Paoletto walked three and stole two bases for the Spartans. Eli Bechtel and Julian Hines each hit a double for Damien and Hines scored a run.

Three of Damien’s runs were scored on wild pitches and the fourth was due to a Santa Margarita throwing error.

The Spartans will face Covina on Wednesday at Fullerton College.

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