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Baseball Millikan Wilson

Baseball: Millikan Finds A Way To Beat Wilson

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The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2023-24 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

Have you ever seen a pitcher maintain his no-hitter while losing a lead?

That’s what fans saw on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field Friday night in the second of two Moore League games between first-place Millikan and Wilson.

Wilson pitcher Rudy Carlos hadn’t given up a hit in five innings while protecting a 1-0 lead, but in the sixth inning Millikan used errors, a hit by pitch and sacrifice hits to take a lead on its way to a 4-1 win to stay atop the league standings.

“They believe,” Millikan coach Ron Keester said of his team. “They have this saying, ‘Winners win’ and they believe they’re going to come out on top and they’ve done that this year. The success they’ve had helps create more success.”

Millikan third baseman Ben Keisler sparked the 3-run sixth inning with a deep shot to center field that was dropped. He would score the game-tying run on an error, and also scored an insurance run in the seventh after a single.

“It’s just an energy in the program,” Keisler said of Millikan’s ability to find ways to win late in games. “We’ll be doing a normal practice and a kid will get a hit and we’ll go crazy like we just won the World Series. Coach (Keester) does a good job of fueling us and he has a lot of confidence that we’re going to come back.”

Millikan first baseman Jacob Robinson also had a standout performance defensively. He made a diving stop to end the first inning, cut down multiple runners with strong throws and had a few key picks down the stretch that saved his team.

“We practice picks all the time,” Robinson said. “(Our coaches) preach being underneath the ball and coming up through it. That’s what I did, just stayed calm in those situations.”

Robinson’s pick of a throw in the dirt in the sixth inning stranded two runners in scoring position.

“It’s amazing to have a guy like that where you throw it and you know it’s going to get picked,” Keisler said of Robinson. “He did a great job today.”

“If he’s not there this game is different,” Keester added.

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Wilson’s Carlos and Millikan starting pitcher Nolan Patterson walked a tightrope early but stranded a combined eight runners in the first two innings. The Bruins pushed one across in the bottom of the first inning when Aaron Mingo singled, stole second and third, and then scored on a wild pitch.

Carlos protected that 1-0 lead by keeping Millikan off balance and hitless until the sixth inning. The lefty did it by locating his pitches on both sides of the plate from the outset, and was rewarded with good defensive positioning behind him.

However, the Rams never looked frustrated while trying to come back without a hit.

“I think they focused more on the 1-0 score and how quick it could turn back,” Keester said of his team.  “That ball that Ben hit got him to second base and now we’re in, and we don’t need a hit to score the next run. I think the coaches talked more about the no hitter than the players did.”

“The mental state was ‘anything for the team to get going’ I just needed to get on base,” Keisler said of his sixth-inning at bat.

“He’s a great kid, we’re very fortunate to have him,” Keester said of Keisler. “He’s a very cerebral kid and very talented. He’s kind of the heart of the team. He goes out there and gives everything he has.”

Catcher Connor Patton brought home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning with an RBI sacrifice fly. Ari Ferrel delivered the Rams’ first hit with a single to cap the 3-run sixth.

Millikan brought in Owen Waytas to close the game out and he pitched three scoreless innings while scattering three hits and stranding five runners on base.

“We’re scrappy and we just find ways to win,” Robinson said.

Millikan will take on Cabrillo at Blair Field next Friday while Wilson visits Compton.

VIDEO: Millikan vs. Wilson, Baseball
PHOTOS: Wilson vs. Millikan, Baseball
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.