The Long Beach baseball community needed a moment to savor after having a promising 2020 season ripped away by the pandemic, and the Millikan Rams delivered in June.
Millikan had a magical run through the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs and capped it with a 2-0 championship victory over Arlington. Not only is it the first time a Long Beach team won a CIF championship since Aaron Hicks was with the Wilson Bruins in 2008, it happened at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field in front of a lively Long Beach crowd.
“It was phenomenal,” catcher Troy Harding said. “Every time something big happened you just heard the roar of the crowd. Just everyone standing behind you, the support from Long Beach was crazy.”
“It’s easy to say everybody’s gone through a lot, but this group has gone through a lot and there’s a lot people don’t know about,” Rams coach Ron Keester said. “This was a dream season to me. These are the kind of guys who you envision being champions, the ones who have overcome so much. And the fact that they love each other — that says everything right there. I’m just proud of them.”
It’s the sixth CIF-SS title in Millikan baseball history and the first since 1992; it’s also the first-ever championship shutout for the Rams. Millikan ace Myles Patton was nearly unhittable in the playoffs, pitching 20 innings and giving up just two runs while striking out 31, but he ran out of innings for the championship game.
That allowed senior lefty Cameron Sims, who went 3.1 innings and yielded just one hit, and senior Daniel Murillo, who came on in relief and gave up just two hits in 3.2 innings, to deliver the shutout.
“We worked hard for this, we worked for everything, and we knew exactly what to do,” said Bilal Ali, who drove in a clutch run. “You just got to stay poised and keep breathing and stay focused. We came up together, we’ve all known each other for so long. Freshman year we used to talk about this. Now that we’re here it’s amazing. It’s indescribable.”