After a frustrating loss at Long Beach Poly last week, Millikan bounced back with an 8-2 win on Wednesday at Wilson.
“It was a big release,” Millikan center fielder Anthony Godfrey said. “We just had to get over that loss. We’re good now and we’re back on.”
Junior Myles Patton contributed at the plate and on the mound where he picked up the victory after pitching five innings without giving up an earned run. The lefty stuck out seven and walked two while scattering four hits.
“I was just trying to throw more strikes and be efficient and go as deep in the game as I can to get my team a win,” Patton said.
Patton also contributed three hits and scored a run. He was part of the three consecutive singles in the first inning that gave Millikan a lead it wouldn’t lose.
“It was good to get offense early to make us feel comfortable,” Millikan coach Ron Keester said.
“It was a tough game against Poly and we came out here to change our approach a little bit and hit the ball on the ground as much as we can and make them play catch,” Patton said. “That’s what we did today and it worked in our favor.”
Wilson has been struggling defensively and made eight of the 11 errors in the game. Bruins starter Charlie Royle pitched into the fifth inning and only gave up a pair of earned runs. Designated hitter A.J. Castano was the only Bruin with multiple hits, and catcher Joe McGrath was the only one with an RBI.
“They were clearly better than us and we didn’t help ourselves,” Wilson coach Andy Hall said. “Until we can figure out how to pick up a ground ball and throw it across the diamond cleanly we can’t expect much different.”
Millikan (10-2, 2-1) loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first inning on singles from Daniel Murillo, Patton and Sam DeCarlo. Murillo came in to score when Gabe Seja was hit by a pitch. The Rams scored twice in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead thanks to a trio of Wilson errors.
The Bruins (6-11, 3-2) got on the board in the bottom of the third on a pair of walks and an error. It looked like Wilson was on the comeback trail when Castano led off the fourth with a double off the fence in center field. Sebastian Smith followed that up with a near identical double off the center field fence, but Godfrey said he was able to get a better read on the ball because it was so much like Castano’s hit.
“I knew they would be running,” Godfrey said. “I heard my teammates yelling, ‘Four’ so I just aired out my arm.”
Godfrey got it back in quickly to first baseman Dean Ormonde, who turned and fired to catcher Troy Harding in time to tag Castano at the plate. Millikan left fielder Cameron Snyder also made a nice sliding catch in the fifth inning.
“All seven guys on the field are really good defenders who can cover a lot of ground and make a lot of tough plays so I always trust them,” Patton said.
Ormonde and Bilal Ali had consecutive doubles in the fourth inning to make it 4-1, and Millikan scored four more runs in the final three innings. DeCarlo reached base in all four of his plate appearances including a 2 RBI single in the sixth.
Senior Daniel Murillo came out of the bullpen to pitch the last two innings for the Rams. He gave up two hits and a run.
Millikan is ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 poll this week, but Keester said he’s not taking anything for granted this year.
“The Moore League is a dog fight,” he said. “Records don’t matter. And this is the craziest year so I expect the craziest things.”
Millikan visits Cabrillo on Friday and Wilson is back in league action next Wednesday at first-place Long Beach Poly. Millikan and Lakewood are currently tied for second with one league loss.