CARY, N.C.—It seemed only fitting that the coda to this year's National High School Invitational, which started on Wednesday morning in windy, sub-freezing temperatures, would end with a game played through patches of heavy rain.
After the slogfest was over, Aliso Niguel emerged soggy and smiling with a 6-3 victory over Parkview on Field 2 of USA Baseball's National Training Complex.
The victory upped Aliso Niguel's tournament ledger to 2-2. That mark left them with a sense of pride, considering the way they'd been thrashed in the tournament's opener, a 16-1 loss to Dyer County.
"The first day, no doubt the players were disappointed," Aliso Niguel head coach Craig Hanson said. "The coaching staff was disappointed. Come all the way across the country and Dyer County handed it to us. Credit to our kids for bouncing back and not hanging their heads and making this a positive tournament for us in the last three games."
Besides Friday's victory, Aliso Niguel also topped ThunderRidge 8-1 in the early portion of Thursday's jam-packed schedule.
Aliso Niguel plated its first run in the opening inning on Kyle Molnar's single. They tacked on another score when Anthony Sommer banged into a double play with the bases loaded and nobody out.
A passed ball in the second inning brought home the third run, and hits from Domenic Colacchio and Sommer closed their scoring.
Parkview scored two of its runs on a Daino Deas single and added another in the seventh before eventually succumbing.
With the rest of their season and a spate of powerful teams in Orange County awaiting at home, Hanson believes his team has gained more mettle for the experiences over the last three days.
"It will help as a lot," he said. "We're playing nationally ranked teams four days in a row (here). Our competition back home that we've played — we've played 11 games and nine of our 11 have been against nationally ranked teams, top 10 teams in Orange County. So we've played challenging baseball, and hopefully that's going to prepare us for the stretch run."