Beckman’s baseball team took over sole possession of first place in the Pacific Coast League Tuesday afternoon behind the hitting of catcher Austin Schell and the pitching of Will Cohen and Collin Villegas.
Schell went 2 for 2 with a two-run home run in the first inning off CdM starter Chazz Martinez while Cohen and Villegas teamed up on a four-hitter leading No. 3 Beckman to a 5-0 PCL win over Corona del Mar at Beckman.
The teams, expected to battle for the league title, went into the game tied for first in the PCL and have two more meetings next week.
“We’re not five runs better than Corona del Mar, but today we were,” said Beckman Coach Kevin Lavalle. “Hats off to our pitchers. Will Cohen came out and does what he’s done really for two years and Collin Villegas comes in. You don’t practice that situation: ‘here’s the ball, bases loaded and nobody out.’ He did that when we beat Mater Dei and he did it against Mission Viejo.
“He’s had plenty of experience coming in moreless with the game on the line.”
Villegas came on in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and no outs and worked out of a jam, then blanked the Sea Kings (7-4, 3-1) the rest of the way to pick up the save.
Cohen (4-0) allowed four hits before giving way to Villegas in the fifth.
Schell also had an RBI single in the third inning to drive in Matt McLain.
The early home run was Schell’s first of the year.
“I was trying to get the ball deep and hit it the other way,” Schell said. “And that’s what I did and the ball just happened to carry out. The pitchers did what they always do: go out and throw strikes and trusting their defense and I feel like we have a better connection with the pitchers this year and trust them and all of our defense to make the plays behind them.”
Beckman third baseman Willie Lajoie delivered a two-run single in the fifth inning driving in Connor McGuire and McLain to put Beckman (10-1, 4-0) ahead, 5-0.
It was a…