One of the most memorable games of this past season wasn’t played with a CIF championship plaque on the line, or even in the playoffs. The second regular-season meeting between the Poly and Millikan baseball teams was such an exciting, well-played, back-and-forth game, it needed a highlight video almost 10 minutes long to capture the drama.
“If you’re talking about a single game, pound-for-pound, back and forth, it’s gonna be hard to come up with a game that might top this one,” said Poly head coach Brent Lavoie after the game.
After tossing a complete game shutout against Millikan in the first meeting between the schools, Poly senior Elias Torres came out with five no-hit innings against the Rams in the rematch as the visitors took a 1-0 lead. That lead disappeared in the sixth, however, as Millikan’s Dean Ormonde smacked a two-run single to put Millikan in front in the late innings.
The Jackrabbits were down to their final out, trailing 2-1 in the top of the seventh, but found a way to survive. After a fielding error allowed the tying run to reach base, senior Kenny Barnabee came up with one of the biggest hits of his life, crushing an RBI triple into deep left field. Poly nearly took the lead in the seventh, but a brilliant diving play by Millikan’s Bilal Ali at second base kept the game tied.
The Jackrabbits would win the game in extra innings, utilizing three squeeze bunts during their four-run rally in the eighth inning to earn a wild 6-2 victory on the road. That win helped propel the Jackrabbits to a second consecutive Moore League title, a feat that no Poly baseball team had ever accomplished.
To Millikan’s credit, the crushing loss didn’t break them, it only made them stronger. After losing to Poly, the Rams rattled off 10 consecutive wins, including the CIF-SS Division 3 championship game.
Both teams should look back on their epic showdown with pride, and fortunately there’s a 10-minute highlight video to help them relive the drama.