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Stewart's return keys Laguna victories

After being sidelined because of appendectomy surgery, baseball standout has two big games to lead Breakers to impressive league wins.

March 29, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
  • Laguna's Adam Rodner, right, and second baseman Preston GrandPre, left, try to make a play on an infield hit.
Laguna's Adam Rodner, right, and second baseman… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

Larry Stewart made his return this week to the diamond, playing as though he never missed a beat.

Stewart, an all-league performer last year, helped the Laguna Beach High baseball team big Orange Coast League victories over Godinez and Costa Mesa. The Breakers on Tuesday rolled past visiting Costa Mesa, 18-2. On March 23, they were 10-4 winners at Godinez.

The two wins pushed Laguna above .500 in league play at 3-2. The Breakers are 6-4 overall and travel on Friday to face Saddleback.

Stewart, who had appendectomy surgery prior to the start of the season, returned to action March 21 and had two at-bats in a game against Costa Mesa (a 4-0 Breakers win). In Wednesday's 18-2 win over the Mustangs, Stewart went five for six with two runs batted in and scored three runs. Steven Harrison had a home run and three RBIs and junior Jackson Rees recorded the win, his first of the season.

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"We hit really well, played solid defense, Rees threw great, and we took advantage of some Costa Mesa mistakes, which resulted in a lopsided score and a great league win," Laguna Coach Mike Bair said.

In the March 23 win at Godinez, Stewart — whom Mike Bair said, "shook off some rust" — took the mound and earned his first win of the season. Grant Wilhelm broke open a tight game with a three-run home run and Blake Hester went three for four with three RBIs.

"It was great to see Stewart compete and figure things out as the game went along," Bair said. "Godinez gave us a tough game, but some timely hits at the end moved us to victory."

Bair said that junior Kurt Rebone will start Friday at Saddleback.

On Saturday, Laguna begins play at the Lions Tournament with a doubleheader at Boysen Park in Anaheim. The Breakers play Western Christian (Upland) at 10 a.m., followed at 1 p.m. with a game against Kelso of Washington. They also play tournament games on Monday against Fullerton, Tuesday against Buena Park at 7:30 p.m. at Ameriage Park in Fullerton, and Wednesday against a-to-be-determined opponent.

Laguna returns to league play at 3:15 p.m. Thursday with a home game against Costa Mesa, which completes the three-game season series between the teams.

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Softball

The Breakers started their Orange Coast League schedule on a high note Tuesday by rolling to a 10-0 victory over visiting Estancia in a game halted by the mercy rule at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach.

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