It was fitting to have Millikan and Lakewood finish off the Moore League baseball season at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field on Thursday night.
The Rams or Lancers have won at least a share of the league title in each of the last six seasons, and the rivals were even chirping at each other on Twitter this week.
However, Millikan has owned the league as of late, and the Rams completed the 3-peat as league champions thanks to a 4-0 win over Lakewood that ended with a dog pile.
Please visit The562.org and subscribe to support Long Beach sports.
“That’s a lot of fun,” Millikan coach Ron Keester said. “It’s great that the kids get to celebrate like that because that’s the moment they wanted.”
Millikan has won eight of its last 10 league meetings with Lakewood, and the Rams are the first team to win two of three consecutive league titles outright since Wilson did it in 1997-99. Lakewood could’ve taken a share of the crown with a win.
“It felt great to celebrate because we didn’t want to share it like last year,” Millikan junior Moises Guzman said. “The coaches really pushed us, and it’s a huge accomplishment for the program.”
Guzman and the Rams (20-10, 11-1) gave starting pitcher Julian Aguiar the lead in the first inning. The center fielder led off with an infield single, and after a single from Cole Baker, they both stole a base to get into scoring position. With the infield in, third baseman Cody Bey drove an 0-2 pitch back up the middle for a two-run single. The junior scored on a two-out RBI single up the middle from Troy Gallitin to give Millikan a 3-0 lead.
“It sets the tone for the entire game,” Guzman said of scoring early. “We try to carry that energy. We’ve learned as a team that you can never let up, or give up.”
Aguiar allowed six hits in 5.1 innings with five strikeouts and three walks. The junior stranded eight runners. Kelly Hawkshaw came on in relief with a runner on in the sixth, and after an error brought the tying run to the plate, the senior got two strikeouts to end the threat.
Lakewood (13-17, 9-3) stranded 12 runners in the game, and failed to give starting pitcher Sebastian Irwin any run support. The senior allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out three in six innings. First baseman Ricky Tiedemann and right fielder Devon Semper both had two hits for the Lancers.
Millikan loaded the bases in the sixth, and got an insurance run on a sacrifice fly from catcher Michael Barrientos.
Keester said that scoring early runs has been key to Millikan success in league, and wanted to credit assistant coach Kevin Gail for calling the pitches.
“He studies tendencies and knows how to evaluate his own pitcher,” Keester said. “He gets us a few outs a game with his knowledge.”
This is Millikan’s 21st Moore League baseball title, and it’s won at least a share in four of the last five seasons. The Rams also won three consecutive league titles from 1983-85 before winning four straight from 1990-93.
Millikan and Lakewood are both in CIF Southern Section Division 2. The playoff brackets will be announced Monday.
WILSON 8, POLY 7
The Jackrabbits (14-16, 6-6) scored three runs in a seventh inning rally at home, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Bruins (18-11-1, 9-3) who tied for second in league with Lakewood. Wilson and Poly are in Division 3.
CABRILLO 13, JORDAN 3
The Jaguars (9-9, 5-7) qualified for a possible at-large bid into the Division 6 playoffs with this win to reach a .500 overall record.