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Baseball Long Beach Poly

Baseball: Long Beach Poly Wins “Special” Game at Angel Stadium

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.

It’s been a strange year for the Long Beach Poly baseball team, to say the least.

The Jackrabbits’ coach, Brent Lavoie, was placed on administrative leave on March 3, more than a month and a half ago. Shortly after, the Long Beach Unified School District declared Poly’s campus field, the Gwynn Family Field, unusable for the rest of the season pending some repairs following the winter’s rainstorms. 

Without their head coach or their home field, the Jackrabbits’ impressive team and interim coach Curtis Thompson have ripped off a historic season. They enter the last week of the regular season with an 18-3 record and a perfect 9-0 mark in the Moore League, seeking to become the first undefeated Moore League champ in more than two decades.

Last week they got a nice reward for the ups and downs of a truly unique season: they participated in the Halo Classic at Angel Stadium, defeating Santa Ana 3-0 in the Major League Baseball venue, while occupying the visitors’ dugout.

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“It’s a massive blessing to step on a professional field and be with my team, and then get a W, it can’t get any better than that,” said Thompson. “It gets them motivated about the next level–turn a high school field into a college field, turn that into a professional field. You never know. We’re going to keep working hard and try to put some more dubs on our record.”

Poly used a handful of pitchers in the shutout effort, with Eli Ludwig, Sebastian Byrd, Brayden Martineau, Lucas Scott, Jae Simon, and Jesse Ritz yielding just one hit in the game. Seven walks did keep things interesting on the base path, but a pair of double plays kept the scoreboard clean.

The offense for Poly came from RBIs by Jae Simon and runs from Scott, Simon, and Byrd.

“It’s such a cool experience,” said Scott after the game. “It’s amazing they let us come out and be a part of this. Having the lineups read and you’re just looking out into the stands. I’m really happy as a team we got to experience this after kind of a rough year with a lot of things happening. This is really good, it was really fun for us.”

The Angels pulled out all the stops, with their actual PA doing lineup announcements for both teams, as they lined up along the baselines so their family and friends could cheer them on. The scoreboards were on and the field was in pristine condition for the game, which was played under the lights in the evening, making for a truly unforgettable experience for the high school kids.

“It was honestly just a really fun game, everyone in the dugout was in it, the energy was there,” said Scott. “Hopefully it’s going to keep pushing us in the right direction moving forward.”

Poly has three more Moore League games this week against Cabrillo, Lakewood and Jordan as they try to wrap up what would be a historic undefeated league slate, which no team has done in at least 20 years in the Moore League. The wins have come with opportunistic offense and stingy pitching and defense, giving up just nine runs in nine league games, and just 33 runs in 21 games overall this season.

Entering the last week of the season, Poly got the news Monday evening that Lavoie has been cleared to return, with the LBUSD confirming that he is no longer on leave and has returned to coaching and teaching duties.

PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly Baseball at Angel Stadium
PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly Baseball at Angel Stadium, Intern Gallery
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.