The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.
Long Beach Poly is making some serious noise in the Moore League baseball this week, and the loudest bang off the bat came from Jae Simon.
The senior outfielder blasted a grand slam during the Jackrabbits’ 11-3 win on Thursday at Wilson to keep his team rolling. Poly also beat league frontrunner Millikan on Monday.
“Obviously to set the tone like that, it feels like it’s a great start, but we want more and we’re trying to keep it going,” Simon said. “We just have to keep fighting as one unit. As long as internally we stay together we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Simon also had an RBI triple and scored another run while Poly shortstop Lucas Scott reached base four times with a single, a double and two walks. He also scored three times. All but one spot in the Jackrabbits lineup reached base.
“We have something to prove out here and we’re coming to outwork any team that steps on the field with us,” Poly interim head coach Curtis Thompson said.
Poly has dealt with an unusual amount of issues off the field since coach Brett Lavoie was put on administrative leave and its campus field was shut down for hosting games, but the Jackrabbits are embracing the “Us against the world” attitude.
“It really puts a chip on our shoulder so we’re fighting with a little extra behind us,” Simon said.
The Jackrabbits have turned up the volume in their dugout to express that pent-up emotion.
“I just tell the kids to come out here and have fun, stay loose and stay relaxed,” Thompson said. “Baseball is a tough game. If you get too much in your head you can lose it, so if you keep your composure good things will happen.”
“The energy and camaraderie we have is amazing,” Scott added. “We’ve been really tightly knit and I think our chemistry is rubbing off on the way we play.”
Scott got Poly going in the top of the first inning with a double, and then came into score on Max Pemberton’s double. Simon also scored in the first inning after being hit by a pitch to make it 3-0.
In the second inning after an error, a single and two walks loaded the bases and brought a run in, Simon came to the plate with two outs.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much there,” Simon said of his approach after falling behind in the count. “I had two strikes so I shortened up a little bit and put a good swing on it and it went.”
The ball was absolutely launched over the fence in left center field and the Poly dugout erupted in celebration that spilled out to the plate to greet all four runs.
“Words can’t describe that,” Simon said. “I’m still high off of it. It was really exciting.”
“As soon as he hit it I knew it was gone,” Thompson said of the grand slam. “He’s been making a lot of good swings and he finally got one over the fence. That was a big grand slam right there.”
The blast put the Jackrabbits up 8-0, and Wilson didn’t score until the bottom of the third when Diego Orozco drove in a pair of runs with a double.
Poly quickly responded with two runs of its own in the top of the fourth inning when Scott got on with a one-out single before RBI hits from Joshue Sayre and Simon.
“He’s a great leader,” Thompson said of Scott, who pitched a shutout against Millikan on Monday. “He’s not a loud guy but he says certain words and it sticks to you. He wants you to get better and he’ll help you get better every day.”
Wilson had plenty of opportunities to get back into the game but stranded 10 runners on base against Poly pitchers Jacob Mason (4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 K), Jordan Malau'ulu (2 IP, 0 H, 2 K) and Joshue Sayre (IP, 0 H, 2 K).
“When you give a team momentum, like we allowed them to get today, it’s hard to play catch up,” Wilson coach Andy Hall said. “It’s just one game and I’m hohttps://www.the562.org/2023/03/23/video-long-beach-poly-vs-wilson-baseball-3/peful that we can get our wits about us and come back and continue to play good baseball. We’re not a bad team, we’ve just got to play better.”
On Wednesday, March 29 Poly is scheduled to take on Lakewood (5:30 p.m.) on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field after Wilson faces Millikan (2:30 p.m.)