The Hobie baseball team honored the passing of their namesake, Hobie Alter, Wednesday night when it took on VFW in a Laguna Beach Little League Major Division game at Riddle Field.
Mark Christy, owner of Hobie Surf Shop, gave a moving, pregame speech to the Hobie squad whose players wore black wristbands in tribute to Alter.
Alter, a surfboard designer and instrumental and iconic figure in surfing culture, died Saturday at age 80.
"If Hobie were here tonight, he would tell you to find something you love to do, whether it is baseball, art, science or math," Christy said.
Team Hobie went on to defeat VFW, 9-8, to build its win streak to four games.
Hobie broke the game open with a six-run fourth inning with doubles from Connor Fink, Dylan Brashier and Quinn Novick, and Zack Bonnin contributing a triple. Hobie was then able to weather a late-game, five-run VFW rally by putting together three runs in the bottom of the sixth capped by Novick's walk-off single.
VFW was led by the solid pitching of Max Shuster to start the game. VFW's five-run sixth was led by doubles from Trey Lockhart and Shuster.
Hobie improved to 4-4-1 overall, while VFW went to 2-8.
In its previous game, Hobie earned its third-straight victory with a 6-4 win Saturday over the Laguna Niguel Angels. In the first inning, the Angels were able to load the bases with one out, but Jeremy Hayes limited the damage to one run with strong pitching. Hayes was dominant on the mound and held the Angels to one run through 5 2/3 innings. Zack Bonnin came in to close the game and was able to secure the win with help from Connor Fink who caught a screaming line drive at shortstop.
Hobie continued its season of solid offense against the Angels, who led the league in fewest runs scored per game. In the bottom of the third, Hayes crushed a three-run home run that dented the scoreboard.
Hobie had just completed a two-game sweep against the Laguna Niguel Cardinals. Excellent pitching performances were turned in by Jamie Mackay and Hayes, with closing pitching by Bonnin and Lance Detweiler. In the first game, a 6-2 win at Riddle Field, Hayes clubbed a grand slam, Will Keary had a towering solo home run, and Adam Kerfoot hit a stand-up triple.
The second game of the series was a 10-8 win at Chapparosa Park that turned into a slugfest. Kerfoot kept his season batting average above .650 with a four-for-four outing.
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In other Laguna Beach Little League action:
UPS 15, Zero Trash 2
UPS turned in its best performance of the season Saturday to defeat Zero Trash.
UPS bats started out slow going up against the solid pitching of Zero Trash pitcher Joey Capobianco, but between the second and fifth innings, UPS hot bats could not be cooled. Aidan McDennon led the charge going three for three which included a fence-rattling double, and walked. Sam Schineller, Kai Gillies and Luke Hendrickson each had two RBIs.
Gillies, Lucas Jablon, McDennon and Jax Laluotte dominated on the mound as UPS breezed to victory.