IRVINE — Battle of the Bay contests are usually a big deal in any sport. The Corona del Mar High and Newport Harbor baseball teams turned it up a notch Monday, as the Sea Kings and Sailors played a nonleague doubleheader at UC Irvine's Anteater Ballpark.
The teams did their best to take their game to the next level, while saving enough energy and preparing for their respective league openers on Friday.
The result was both teams earned a win. CdM (3-3) showed poise with a 7-4 victory in the first game.
Newport Harbor (4-2) showed great character in its ability to bounce back and scored a 14-0 win in the nightcap.
"I think it was fantastic," said Newport Harbor Coach Patrick Murphy, who helped arrange the game at UCI by simply calling and asking athletic director Mike Izzi. "I think the kids really enjoyed it. I know I enjoyed it. It makes sense. UCI is right down the street. UCI was gracious enough to let us play here. We would love to do it annually if we get the opportunity."
The Sailors were strong from the start in the nightcap, scoring three runs in the first inning en route to the dominating victory. Junior third baseman Shaun Vetrovec got Newport Harbor going with a single that brought in leadoff man Drew Andary, who walked to reach base.
Jake Norton, a junior first baseman, followed Vetrovec's single with a triple. Norton later crossed the plate on a pass ball.
The Sea Kings couldn't respond. Pitcher Blake Pender prevented any CdM momentum. The Newport Harbor junior pitcher recorded four shutout innings, giving up just two hits. Relievers Cameron Jabara (two innings) and Jonah Dipoto (one inning) also combined for the shutout.
Vetrovec went three for four with one run batted in, two runs and two stolen bases. It was more of the same of what he provided last week during the Newport Elks Tournament. He went eight for 13 and pitched for two wins. He logged eight innings, giving up only one hit.
"We just wanted to come back strong," Vetrovec said. "We know we should've beaten them the first game. We know we are the better team. We just wanted to come back and show it, prove it."
Murphy said the break between games allowed the Sailors to get on the same page with the coaches. He was not pleased with his team's performance in the first game.
"We just played uncharacteristic," said Murphy, whose team begins Sunset League play Friday at Edison. "We just played bad defense. That's a game we should win in my opinion. I was pretty upset about it. But I was pretty happy with the way we came back and played the second game."
The Sea Kings capitalized on the Sailors' mistakes to help score the victory in the first game. CdM scored three unearned runs. Tyler Duncan went two for two with an RBI and a run scored.
The Sea Kings scored three runs in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. Hunter Cullen drove in a run for CdM, which scored one run in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
Brett Olson, who singled, scored on a walk with the bases loaded. Hunter Heckendorn and Tyler Maloney scored in the seventh to help secure the win. Heckendorn led off with a single. He later scored after a balk moved him to third and Duncan's sacrifice fly brought him in.
"It was amazing," Duncan said of playing at Anteater Ballpark. "It was a great experience. I've played in other college ballparks, but this one was the best. It was just awesome. It was just a great experience to be out here."
CdM Coach John Emme said the field was great for both teams and the doubleheader also turned out to be beneficial for the rivals.
"I think both teams got what they wanted," said Emme, whose teams opens Pacific Coast League play at home against University on Friday. "Everyone would want a sweep, but we have to be ready for Friday."
Emme was grateful that the Battle of the Bay doubleheader was played at UCI.
"It was great for the kids," Emme said. "It was great for both programs. Kudos to Coach Murphy for arranging it."