Long Beach Poly went into the final day of the Moore League baseball season with a piece of the league crown sitting in their paws, but as head coach Brent Lavoie said: “We don’t want to share it.” As it turned out, the Jackrabbits ended up losing to Lakewood on the last day, but thanks to a wild Millikan win over Wilson, they still ended up as the sole league champions.
Had Wilson defeated Millikan, it would have been a co-league championship between Poly and Wilson.
The Jackrabbits clinched their first league title since 2012 and just their second since 1986 with a 10-2 win over Cabrilo, which put Poly a full game clear of the rest of the league headed into the final day of action.
The Jaguars have been a thorn in Poly’s side the last two years, losing just 1-0 to Poly earlier this season and defeating the Jackrabbits last year. Poly got up quickly and led the whole game this time, getting a quality start from Tim Fife.
That set up the final day of the year, with Poly hosting Lakewood. The Jackrabbits took a 3-1 lead early on, but Lakewood scored a run in the third, fifth, and sixth innings to march back into the game and take control. Their win didn’t really do anything for the Lancers in the standings, but it did give Wilson a chance to win a co-league championship with a win over the Rams.
The Bruins were playing at Millikan, and the Rams rose up to end their league schedule on a positive note after a disappointing second half.
Millikan got three RBIs each from freshman Caleb Brandon and sophomore Troy Harding and took a 6-0 lead early in the game, after just three innings. But the Bruins marched back with four RBIs from Ryan Pettway and three from Crixtian Taveras, and after three runs in the sixth inning, Wilson trailed just 8-7 going into the bottom of the seventh.
After two outs with no action for Wilson, the Bruins loaded the bases, but came up one hit short of the league title.
Poly and Lakewood’s game ended before Wilson and Millikan’s, and the Jackrabbits huddled around a phone in their dugout to watch the final minutes of Millikan’s win. On the last out, Poly sprinted out to left field for their second dogpile of the week.
In the final standings, Poly took first at 10-2, with Lakewood and Wilson both sitting at three losses, and Millikan in fourth with four losses. All four teams will be in the CIF-SS playoffs, with brackets slated to come out April 29.