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Baseball Lakewood Long Beach Poly

Baseball: Long Beach Poly Shuts Out Lakewood, Stays in First

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

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.

The Long Beach Poly baseball team stayed on top of the Moore League standings Monday with a shutout win over Lakewood, in a game that looked a lot like Poly’s other big wins in league this year. The Jackrabbits got on top early with an aggressive approach at the plate, took advantage of their opponent’s defensive miscues, and played great defense themselves behind pitchers Lucas Scott and Jacob Mason in a 4-0 victory.

“These kids are hard workers, they motivate each other, they pick each other up and they play with fire in their eyes,” said interim Poly coach Curtis Thompson. “They’re coming to ball out and they’re not giving up, they go 110% every practice and every game.”

The Jackrabbits jumped into the lead in the top of the first after singles from Scott and Max Pemberton, with Scott scoring on an RBI fielder’s choice by Fernando Castaneda, and Pemberton scoring on an RBI triple by Jae Simon.

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With a 2-0 lead in hand, Scott did what he’s done all year–threw strikes and pitched to contact. He gave up just one free base (on an HBP) and let his defense get him out of jams, as Lakewood got runners into scoring position three times in the first five innings, but Scott got them to pop up or ground out each time.

“I battled, I didn’t have my best stuff today but I was trying to keep my pitch count down,” said Scott. The UC Irvine signee is a natural shortstop and was recruited to play the infield in college. He’s taken to pitching this year for Poly, though.

“I just really wanted to be a leader for this team, regardless of where I’m playing,” he said. “It’s really not any different to me as long as I’m helping us win.”

The Jackrabbits helped him out in the top of the fifth after a leadoff double by Marcus O’Keith. Nate Berumen put down a bunt, and Lakewood relief pitcher Joseph Dizon tried to get O’Keith at third; with O’Keith beating the throw that put runners on the corners with no outs. Berumen then stole second. Scott came up and hit a hard grounder to second, where it was fielded cleanly but flipped to the shortstop standing on second, mistakenly going for a force-out. O’Keith ended up scoring on the play, with Scott taking first. Pemberton singled in Berumen to make it 4-0, but Lakewood did get out of the inning with the bases loaded, still in the game.

With Mason taking over for Scott on the mound, the Lancers did continue to threaten, with a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth that was erased as Scott turned a double play at shortstop. In the bottom of the seventh, the Lancers loaded the bases with just one out, and looked to bring in their first run as the ball hit Matt Maines. But the umpire ruled that Maines had leaned into the ball and brought him back into the box after he’d begun to trot down to first.

Maines ended up being ejected for protesting the call and then drawing a line in the dirt with his bat. The wind came out of Lakewood’s sails as instead of a run coming home, their next two batters recorded outs via strikeout and pop up to end the game.

“We’re playing really well, our practices have been really dialed in,” said Scott. “Nobody’s taking any days off. Guys are going and working out on the weekends, staying and hitting after practice for hours. Everybody wants to win.”

The win keeps Poly (10-2, 5-0) atop the Moore League as the end of the first round of league play approaches. They’ll face Cabrillo on Tuesday before starting the second round of league play against Millikan at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field on Thursday. Lakewood (9-10, 4-2) slips into third place behind Poly and Millikan, with a big game looming at Blair on Thursday against Wilson.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs Lakewood Baseball
Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.