Baseball Long Beach Poly

Long Beach Poly Baseball Makes History With Undefeated Moore League Title

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.

You know a team made history when the bus driver asks for a group picture before the postgame return trip. Friday evening at the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, that’s exactly what happened for the Long Beach Poly baseball team. As they loaded onto their bus, their driver Tressa Myers asked, “Did y’all do it?”

As it turned out, they did, making Moore League and Long Beach history with a 15-1 win over Jordan. That wrapped up the first undefeated Moore League championship season for any team since Wilson did it in 1997, and the first by a Poly team since at least 1968. The team celebrated with a Martinelli bottle-popping ceremony back at Poly, but before they could get there they loaded back off the bus so they could take a picture with Myers, at her request.

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“It’s surreal,” said senior and UC Irvine signee Lucas Scott. “The last time it was done was 20 something years ago? Obviously the Moore League gauntlet is very difficult, winning with one loss is an incredible feat. But going undefeated, it’s crazy. This team just handled adversity really well–we had a lot of things going on that were external things we couldn’t control. But we controlled everything we could control and I genuinely think everyone in our dugout had confidence we’d win every game we played.”

They won easily enough on Friday to wrap up the regular season, with 16 Jackrabbits getting in the game and 12 of them crossing home plate, including two-run efforts by Marcus O’Keith, Fernando Castaneda, Robert Rodriguez-Salazar, and Jesse Ritz, and two-RBI days by Jae Simon, Rodriguez-Salazar, and Ritz, and Josiah Riera.

It was the third game back for head coach Brent Lavoie, who missed much of the season while on administrative leave. He expressed pride but not surprise at the way this Poly team navigated the ups and downs of the year.

“It puts it in perspective that we just did something pretty special,” he said. “It’s something to be excited about. You gotta give props to these guys for not only keeping the ship afloat, but taking care of business, sailing through the waves of adversity and getting it done. Big props to the staff and the guys just fighting for each other and playing for each other.”

Poly finishes the regular season 22-3 having given up just 16 runs in Moore League play and just 40 on the season (less than half as many as the next best Moore League team). The Jackrabbits had four walk-off wins this year, a rare feat for a high school team.

“Everyone in our dugout honestly believes in each other, we have confidence in each other and we’re ready to fight to the last out,” said junior Nate Berumen.

When asked how his team was able to weather the storms of losing their coach and their home field (which was shut down by the LBUSD for being unsafe), Scott shrugged.

“This is the closest-knit team I’ve ever been a part of,” he said. “We won the Moore League my sophomore year, and that was a talented team. I know what it feels like to be on talented teams. But truly this is the tightest team I’ve ever experienced in all my years playing baseball, and there’s got to be some correlation there. Everyone fights for each other. Everyone’s willing to sacrifice. Everyone wants to win. Everyone accepts their role because we want to win.”

Next up for the Jackrabbits is yet another grasp at history. Poly hasn’t won a CIF-SS title since 1963, and will have a chance in this year’s CIF-SS Division 3 bracket, which will be released on Monday.

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.