Long Beach Poly and Lakewood crammed an entire Moore League season’s worth of offense into a Tuesday afternoon extra-innings thriller at the Gwynn Family Field on Poly’s campus. The Jackrabbits ended up winning a wild dash home by Nolan Brown, who scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to seal an 11-10 victory for Poly.
“Honestly I was looking for a pitch in the dirt, it was time to go home,” said Brown with a smile after the game. “We needed to end that right there.”
Brown got a great jump after seeing the wild pitch get by the catcher and was able to slide home under the tag, setting off a jubilant celebration among his teammates.
“I can’t even put into words what that felt like,” he said.
Poly hasn’t had a lot to celebrate in the Moore League recently—the Jackrabbits had beaten Lakewood just once in their previous seven tries and went 0-6 last year against the other league playoff teams. This year they improve to 2-0 in league and are now tied with Millikan atop the league standings.
“These guys believe in themselves,” said Poly coach Brent Lavoie. “They believe they can step on the field and win, they fight for each other.”
That fight was needed as Poly fell behind 6-1 and had to claw their way back into the game. The Jackrabbits entered the third inning trailing 6-3 but got a run back after a leadoff triple by EJ Andrews, who was brought home by Jesse Simon. The Jackrabbits scored four runs to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth after recording five hits in the inning, including a two-RBI triple from Chris Murphy.
The Lancers tied the game in the top of the sixth on back-to-back triples by Ryan Ruddell and Ricky Tiedemann, and a sac fly by Wyatt Coats.
Lakewood took a 10-8 lead in the top of the eighth on RBI hits from Eddie Gaxiola and David Baruch, but Poly answered in the bottom of the frame as Simon scored two.
Then the Jackrabbits drew three walks (one intentional) in the bottom of the ninth, then saw Brown sprint home to win it on the wild pitch.
“We’re trying to reset the culture at Poly,” said Andrews. “Last year we had a lot of one-run losses. This year is different.”
Poly had 17 hits in the game; Brown was 2-4 with two runs, Murphy was 2-4 with 3 RBI and a run, Andrews was 3-4 with two runs and Simon was 2-5 with four RBI and also pitched a shutout ninth inning.
For Lakewood, Gaxiola was 3-4 with two RBI and a run, Baruch was 2-4 with an RBI and two runs, and Tiedemann was 1-5 with an RBI and three runs.
The Jackrabbits (9-8, 2-0) will host Cabrillo at Blair Field on Thursday while Lakewood (3-9, 1-1) will host Compton.