If Long Beach Poly is going to win an unprecedented third consecutive Moore League baseball championship, the Jackrabbits are going to have to get a lot of big performances from senior Ryan Skjonsby. On the opening night of league play Wednesday at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field, they got one, as Skjonsby starred on the mound and at the plate in a 14-1 victory over the Panthers.
Skjonsby pitched four shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out three; offensively he scored three runs and hit a triple and a double.
“That’s the heartbeat right there,” said Poly coach Brent Lavoie. “He’s just a guy that deserves to win. A good attitude guy, just makes everybody around him better. We love that guy, for sure.”
Jordan played Poly tough, and the game was scoreless after two innings, as Jordan pitcher Enrique Gastelum was able to keep the Jackrabbits guessing the first time through the lineup. The Jackrabbits batted around in the third though, after a leadoff triple from sophomore Max Pemberton. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Clavel, who reached on an error. Skjonsby drew a walk, and then a bunt put down by Sebastian Lebario was thrown wide of first base and ended up being misplayed, allowing Clavel and Skjonsby to score, and Lebario to come all the way around home as well.
An RBI double from Jordan Kramer made it 5-0 Poly after the third.
The Panthers kept battling, and got a double from Juan Estrada the next inning, but couldn’t advance him. Poly added a pair of runs in the fourth as Lebario lofted a sac fly, and Clavel scored on a wild pitch.
Jordan got on the board in the fifth inning after Oswaldo Martinez singled in Anthony Vasquez, but Poly scored four more in the bottom of the inning on RBI hits from Clavel, Skjonsby, and Lebario.
“I thought we executed well our second time through the lineup,” said Lavoie. “It’s good to get out here, we have a lot of new faces over there, it’s a new look Poly team and it’s good to get some of these guys their Blair Field feet wet.”
Jordan coach Bryan Whitfield was pleased with how competitively his team played the game.
“I liked how we played and competed, we didn’t just roll over and die,” he said. “We had some key errors that really hurt us, we have to clean that up. But we gave them a battle, that’s what we wanted to do–we’re going to come out here and compete. It’s not going to be a walk in the park when you play us.”
Skjonsby wasn’t fazed or surprised by his big night, and said he was happy to try and step up to help his team this year.
“I’m excited, I’m just doing whatever I can to try and help my team win,” he said. “Whatever they need, I’m going to give it my best effort to get it done.”
Poly (7-2, 1-0) hosts Compton on Friday and will travel to Wilson on Wednesday next week. Jordan (3-5, 0-1) travels to Wilson Friday and hosts Compton on Wednesday.