HUNTINGTON BEACH — Oh Henry!
The Southern Section Division 1 playoffs opened with a bang for the Huntington Beach Edison baseball team. Henry Owens, a 6-foot-7 senior left-hander, threw a no-hitter in an 11-0 victory Friday afternoon against visiting Corona Santiago.
Owens faced only one batter over the minimum while striking out 12. He issued a two-out walk to Jeremy Goldenetz in the third and hit Steven Pallares with a pitch with one out in the seventh. The game ended when the next batter, Kyle Ferret, grounded into a force play and Pallares was called for interference after sliding well past second base, resulting in a double play.
Owens, who is expected to be taken early in next month’s major league draft, raised his long arms in celebration and was quickly engulfed by his teammates.
“I was fresh and ready to go,” Owens said. “My stuff was there the whole game.”
Owens struck out the side in the first, fifth and sixth innings. During that late stretch, he struck out seven consecutive batters. But he was also efficient. Heading into the seventh inning, he had thrown only 69 pitches.
“He had command of everything,” said Edison coach Steve Lambright. “That’s a good hitting ball club over there. [Santiago] scored 10 runs against Mater Dei and 15 runs against Vista Murrieta, so it just kind of shows what a special pitcher he is.”
Lambright said he had not seen Owens so dominant since he threw a five-hitter in a 2-1 victory against Mater Dei two years ago in a Division 1 semifinal. Lambright said he challenged Owens earlier in the week to put the team on his shoulders.
“That’s what I’m proud of, that he responded,” Lambright said.
Owens had plenty of support, mainly from two batters.
Senior right-fielder Jon Torres hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first and finished with four hits in five at-bats and four runs scored. Sophomore designated hitter Jake Lesinski slammed a three-run homer in the third after failing to put down a bunt. He also finished 4-for-5 with six RBIs.
“That was huge today,” Owens said. “That offense broke out at the right time.”
The defense also threw a zero at the Sharks, fielding the eight balls they did manage to put in play. The closest Santiago came to getting a hit was Michael Darr's lineout to third to end the third inning.
“We haven’t played too many good games like we did today,” Lambright said. “When you score 11 runs on 13 hits and no errors on defense and your pitcher throws a no-hitter, I really don’t know how you can play any better than that.”