Down to their final three outs on the road against their fiercest rivals, the Millikan Rams showed no signs of panic. The Rams trailed Lakewood, 2-1, entering the final inning, with one of the city’s top pitchers on the mound.
The visitors didn’t blink, and instead erupted for a six-run rally in the seventh inning on their way to a key 7-3 win on Wednesday afternoon in Lakewood.
The teams combined to score just three runs through the first six innings, but made solid contact throughout the game against a pair of Division I starting pitchers–Millikan’s Myles Patton and Lakewood’s Anthony Eyanson.
“We’ve seen each other a handful of times. (Lakewood) has seen Myles and our kids have seen their guy,” explained Millikan head coach Ron Keester. “I think once you get 10-12 at-bats, you’re not surprised by anything that they’re going to do. I thought they put good swings, I thought we put good swings, and that was probably the most offensive game we’ve had together for both teams in quite some time.”
Patton ended up throwing a complete game on the mound, allowing two runs on four hits with six strikeouts. The lefty’s command wasn’t his best, as he walked five and plunked a pair of Lancers, but he limited the damage well to keep his team in the game. Patton also helped his own cause at the plate, going 4/4 with a double, a run and an RBI.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, there’s nothing better than ripping a double against Lakewood,” Patton said after the game. “I’ve been working hard on my hitting. Last year during league I kind of struggled, but this year everybody’s got to hit. We’ve all got to be hitting and I’ve got to work as hard as I can to be the best that I can be to help the team win and to try and win a Moore League championship.”
Sam DeCarlo helped spark the offense in the first at-bat of the day, driving a leadoff triple to right field. DeCarlo was 2/4 on the day with two runs scored and an RBI. He was brought home on a sacrifice fly from Cameran Hegamin to make it 1-0 Rams in the first.
Lakewood used back-to-back one-out doubles to tie the game in the third inning, as James Provencio drove in Nohea Mapu to make it 1-1. Provencio would score later in the inning on an Eyanson sacrifice fly to give Lakewood a 2-1 advantage.
Eyanson was also a dual threat for his team, going 6.2 innings on the mound, allowing just one earned run on nine hits with five strikeouts. Offensively, the senior was 1/1 with two RBIs and two walks.
The Lancers protected that one-run lead until the seventh, when Millikan erupted for six runs to completely change the game. Ryan Geck opened the frame with a deep drive to right field, where the ball was dropped allowing the leadoff man to head all the way to third base.
After a walk to Humberto Tene, DeCarlo served a base hit to the opposite field to score Geck and tie the game, 2-2. From there, Eyanson was able to get two straight outs to almost escape the inning with limited damage. However, with runners at the corners and two outs, Millikan’s Robert Voss pulled a two-run triple into the left centerfield gap to give the Rams a 4-2 lead.
Patton would tack on an RBI single, then a throwing error by the Lancers extended the inning for one last body blow from the Millikan offense. Christian Cuffaro delivered his team’s second two-run triple of the inning to extend the lead to 7-2, giving Patton plenty of cushion for the bottom half of the inning.
It’s a good thing he had it, because Lakewood drew three walks and had a batter plunked in the bottom of the seventh, helping them push a run across and bring the tying run to the plate. Patton locked in, however, and got a strikeout looking on pitch No. 109 of the afternoon to end the game.
“We’ve lost two games this week, on Saturday and this one, because we dropped the ball,” said Lakewood head coach Spud O’Neil. “We didn’t finish, and we had the game won. (Millikan has) the experience from the summer and some pretty good players, but Anthony didn’t deserve that at the end.”
It’s a key early win for Millikan, but it is still early, with plenty of important league games left to play. Next Wednesday will give fans a marquee doubleheader at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field when Millikan faces Wilson at 3:30 before Lakewood and Poly face off in the nightcap at 6:30.