Los Angeles Preps: Erik Peruzzi

Inland Empire and OC: Laguna Beach 5, Indio 2

May, 19, 2011

LAGUNA BEACH — Geographically speaking, Indio and Laguna Beach couldn't be more different.

But the high school baseball teams from the respective cities displayed a remarkably similar brand of high-level competition Tuesday, going head to head in a Southern Section Division 4 first-round game at Laguna Beach High.

In the end, the Breakers delivered more timely hits and escaped with a 5-2 victory, their first home playoff win in the 73-year history of the program.

“We want to keep fighting,” said Laguna Beach catcher Erik Peruzzi, whose two-run double in the third gave his team the lead for good. “We want to get to the final round.”

After enduring a 125-mile bus ride from deep in the low desert to the sunny shores of Laguna Beach, the Rajahs scored first on a run-scoring double by Jose Lopez in the second inning.

Laguna Beach right-hander Chris Paul, who has signed with UC Santa Barbara, then settled in and prevented Indio from mounting another rally until the seventh.

The Breakers (22-6) gave Paul all the run support he'd need in the the third.

Larry Stewart reached on an error to lead off the inning and Jake Herbert followed with a bunt single. Keaton Jones then tied the score with a double to right-center field. Two outs later, Peruzzi doubled off the screen in left center, driving in Herbert and Jones for a 3-1 lead.

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