Long Beach Poly was efficient in its 4-1 win over Millikan on Friday afternoon at home that keeps the Jackrabbits atop the Moore league baseball standings with a week left in the regular season.
Poly (15-6-1, 8-1) scored three runs in the third inning to take the lead and cap the scoring while ace pitcher Jesse Simon battled though a complete game performance. Simon was roughed up by Wilson in his first league loss last week, and was sent home sick from practice on Thursday.
“I woke up (yesterday) with body aches and was in bed for about five hours last night unable to sleep,” Simon said. “Everything was sore. Today was the same. I took some ibuprofen and came out here and tried to do my best.”
Simon scattered five hits and walked two while only recording one strikeout. The Rams put a runner on in all but one inning, but only had three runners reach scoring position.
“It definitely was a grind,” Simon said. “I just threw strikes, trusted the defense and they made a lot of plays for me today.”
A few of those web gems were turned in by catcher Daniel Mariscal, who threw out a pair of attempted base stealers in the second and fifth innings. The senior also had a pair of doubles and an RBI with two runs scored.
“He’s an absolute grinder who is our team captain because he’s phenomenal behind the plate and he’s got a lot of confidence,” Poly coach Brent Lavoie said. “He attacks, is ready to swing it, and he’s come up with a bunch of big hits for us this year.”
Millikan (12-8, 6-4) is dealing with a bevy of issues, and is still without the services of ace pitcher Julian Aguiar (suspension) and senior leader Cody Bey (injury). However, senior Chris Vital came up with a quality spot start as he pitched the complete game. Vital allowed eight hits and four free passes while striking out three.
Millikan took its only lead of the game when junior Nico Briones led off the top of the first inning with an inside the park home run to the gap in right center field. Mariscal admitted after the game that it made him a little nervous.
“That’s always scary, but after that (Simon) calmed down and went to work,” Mariscal said.
The first inning was the only inning that Simon gave up multiple hits.
“I thought maybe we were just going to go one time though the lineup, but (Simon) gave us the CG,” Lavoie said. “That’s just Jesse. He’s mentally strong. After last week’s game he was battling some emotions after having a great year. Sometimes a loss is a good thing. That was a good loss for us, and for him.”
Poly has games against Cabrillo and Lakewood next week. Millikan will face Compton and Wilson to finish the regular season.
P Jesse Simon: 7 IP, 5 H, ER, K, 2 BB
C Daniel Mariscal: 2 2B, 2 R, RBI
DH Jordan Guevara: 2 1B, R
SS Chris Murphy: 2 1B, RBI, R
P Chris Vital: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 3 K
RF Nico Briones: HR
CF Moises Guzman: 2B
3B Griffin Misajon: 3B