This is supposed to be a new day in the Moore League, with more hits and runs than the usual season of high-quality ball played at Blair Field. Someone forgot to tell the Lakewood Lancers, who clawed their way into a first-place tie with their second consecutive low-scoring thriller at Blair, edging Millikan 2-1.
The win puts the Lancers and Rams in a first-place Moore League tie with a 5-1 record; Wilson and Poly are just behind, both at 4-2.
“We’re all rookies, we’re playing the old school way,” said Lakewood coach Spud O’Neil. “And we found the right guy on the mound.”
The hero once again was pitcher Sebastian Irwin, who held the Rams to one run, scored in the first inning. Irwin pitched nine innings against Wilson last week and limited the Bruins to two hits; against the Rams, Irwin yielded six hits and one run.
Across the two must-win games, Irwin pitched 16 innings and gave up eight hits and one run, for a two-game ERA of .043.
O’Neil said he wasn’t surprised by Irwin’s success—his senior lefty agreed.
“I’ve been working really hard to get to this point, I really wanted to help us win this year,” said Irwin. “It took a lot of work.”
Irwin’s only Kryptonite has been the first inning, where he’s struggled a little. Millikan opened up Wednesday’s game with a 1-0 lead after Moises Guzman led off with a double and then Cody Bey singled him home.
“Yeah it’s always the first inning,” said Irwin. “I just have to get out of it and then I settle in.”
That’s exactly what he did Wednesday, while his offense went to work to give him some support.
Kelly Hawkshaw was solid on the mound for Millikan for five innings but Lakewood scored in the bottom of the second to tie the game after Carter White singled, stole second, and ultimately came home on a throwing error.
The Lancers took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after Ryan Ruddell singled up the middle, was moved over by Nathan Blair, and came home on Eddie Gaxiola’s RBI double.
The second round of league play promises some exciting matchups among the four playoff teams:
April 27: Poly @ Lakewood, 3 p.m.
April 27: Wilson @ Millikan, 3 p.m.
May 4: Wilson vs. Lakewood @ Blair, 3:30 p.m.
May 4: Poly vs. Millikan @ Blair, 6:30 p.m.
May 10: Wilson @ Poly, 3:15 p.m.
May 10: Lakewood vs. Millikan, 6 p.m.