IRVINE - Almost halfway through the Pacific Coast League baseball season, Corona del Mar is sitting pretty good.
The Sea Kings clinched the season series with Beckman, defeating the No. 5 Patriots, 7-5, Thursday afternoon at Beckman,
Corona del Mar (11-4, 6-1) has a two-game lead in the league standings over second-place Beckman (10-4, 4-3), which has dropped its last three league games.
"The offense came out on fire," said CdM Coach John Emme. "They came out ready today. It was probably our best offensive effort of the year."
CdM will take a break from league games next week, and will compete in the Newport Rib Company Classic beginning Saturday.
"We get to enjoy the break, play in the tournament and then come back just as hungry as we were today," Emme said.
It was the first time that CdM has defeated Beckman in a three-game league series since Kevin Lavalle took over the Patriots program in 2007.
"This is a bit of a monkey off our back," Emme said. "They've just had guys, and no matter how hard we've fought, they always seemed to get us and this is nice."
The Sea Kings, who had 10 hits, struck early, scoring four runs in the first inning. Alex Shadid had an RBI single, Nolan Dunn drove home a run on a groundout and Matt Thompson knocked in two runs with a double.
The Sea Kings moved out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning when Chazz Martinez doubled to drive in JT Schwartz, who had singled.
Beckman cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the second inning on a two-run home run by Jake Groves to right field. The Sea Kings thought the ball bounced first in front of the short fence and it should have been called a ground-rule double, but the ruling stood.
In the fourth inning, CdM added two runs, one unearned, on RBI singles by Preston Hartsell and Schwartz.
Beckman got back into the game in the fifth inning on a two-run home run by Willie Lajoie, cutting the lead to 7-4.
In the sixth inning, Connor McGuire drove in a run on a groundout to trim the margin to 7-5.
Shadid, who came on in relief of starter Tommy Wilcox in the sixth inning, retired Beckman in order in the seventh to notch the save.
Wilcox (4-0) pitched the first five innings.
"They did a great job, they just hit their spots," Emme said of his pitchers.
CdM defeated Beckman, 2-1, on Tuesday behind the pitching and hitting of Martinez. He pitched a complete game and drove in both runs.
Thursday's victory had the Sea Kings even more excited.
"It's a great team win," said Martinez, who had two hits and an RBI. "We played defense and made the guys put the ball in play. It feels great. We're first in the PCL right now and we're not going to let up on anyone, that's for sure. We're still hungry."
Beckman, which is also in the Newport tournament, will try to get back on track when it resumes league play April 18 at Northwood. The Patriots are hoping for a strong league finish.
"They're a very good team," Lavalle said of CdM. "It's the best team they've had. They've had some good teams and it's no surprise they're doing what they're doing.
"Sports is incredibly tough to figure out sometimes. We have to try and get better and move forward. You got to just keep doing what you're doing.
"There is a long ways to go, not just in league, but a long ways go go in the whole season."