Patience at the plate and determination on the mound proved to be the perfect recipe for the Mira Costa baseball team on April 15.
The Mustangs scored nine of their runs in the last three innings, and senior pitcher Jonah Storey went six innings to lead the way in a 10-2 nonleague win over Torrance.
“I think the biggest thing is that he changed speeds,” Mira Costa coach Keith Ramsey said of Storey. “The first time through the order, I thought Torrance did a really nice job of getting the pitches they liked and we had to obviously adjust.
“I thought Jonah did a great job, starting to land his breaking ball for strikes and kind of get them out of comfortable hitting zones.”
The Tartars (5-4) got on the board in the first inning thanks to Conrad Vaimoso’s deep single off the wall in center field.
“I felt like I was throwing a lot of fastballs early and they were getting to me,” Storey said. “Then I felt like my off-speed was good and I worked with that. I felt comfortable with the curveball and slider.”
The Mira Costa bats had a difficult time through the early innings against Torrance starter Noah McMinn. He allowed one run through the first three innings and did a great job keeping the hitters off-balance.
That was until the fourth inning.
Ben Gneiser and Max Anderson led off the inning with singles and two batters later Jake Wall was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Aidan Aguilar, Ryan Matsukawa and Nick Bacura followed with RBI hits, Bacura driving in two runs for a 4-1 lead.
“He (McMinn) kept us confused the first time and a half through the order,” Ramsey said. “I thought the second time through, guys did a nice job, maybe seeing it a little deeper, trying to use the other side of the field, not just spinning off the breaking ball. I thought McMinn did a great job of changing speeds and making it difficult for us early, but the kids did a nice job adjusting.”
Mira Costa (6-5) added two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth for the 10-2 lead. It was more than enough support for Storey.
“I’m a hitter first, but when I pitch and a runner gets on, I think that’s when my mentality changes,” Storey said. “I kind of pitch for fun until a runner gets on. I probably should not do that.
“I think guys, 1-9 (in the lineup) had team at-bats once we got to the late half of the game and that’s when we saw our success.”
Aguilar had three hits and drove in three runs. Gneiser scored three runs.
Vaimoso had two hits, narrowly missing two home runs.