A Moore League baseball team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2015. Can they break the cycle this time around?
When did winning a playoff game become “Mission: Impossible 2” for Moore League baseball? Well, the good news is… ***spoiler alert*** In the movie, Ethan Hunt (aka Tom Cruise) ends up stopping the virus outbreak and saves the world. Mission: POSSIBLE. Can someone stop the outbreak this year?
A Moore League baseball team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2015 when Millikan and Wilson both won first-round matchups just to be bounced in the second round. The last memorable run when the Moore League has made in the playoffs was 2011 when both Wilson and Lakewood advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals. Lakewood’s Shane Watson and Wilson’s Chase DeJong lit up the radar gun on the mound that season and Lakewood shortstop JP Crawford was a first-round draft pick. Must’ve been nice to have those guys. They aren’t stepping on the field this year, but it can still be done.
The Moore League is known for getting the toughest draws in the CIF-SS playoff brackets (I’m looking at you Rob Wigod aka Mr. Commissioner), but it’s obviously something we’re just gonna have to deal with because it doesn’t look like that’s changing. The playoffs are a time to check your ego at the door. No more worrying about being recruited or making sure people on social media know that you play on the baseball team. Ever since social media has taken over the world, the Moore League can’t win in the playoffs. Hmm. Just trying to connect a few dots. Buckle down, put the barrel on the ball, and see what the heck happens.
Millikan vs. Murrieta Valley (Division 2)
The Rams won the outright Moore League championship this season, making it three straight years with at least a share of the title and four out of the last five. They’re very deep on the mound with junior Julian Aguiar, sophomore Tyler Conant, and senior Kelly Hawkshaw. Deep pitching staff usually equals deep playoff runs, but you can’t score when your team is pitching. That’s just a fact. Junior CF Moises Guzman is the best player in the Moore League and sophomore shortstop Christian Yogi is the future.
Lakewood at Crescenta Valley (Division 2)
I’ve never seen a team improve so much over the course of a year. Lakewood finished the year 12-18, but the team now is A LOT different than the team that lost to La Mirada a billion to zero earlier in the season. Head coach Spud O’Neil is a genius and always has his teams playing well at the right time. Lakewood can swing it a little bit. Every time senior Carter White goes up to plate, it’s probably going to be a hit. Senior pitcher Sebastian Irwin is a bulldog on the mound.
Wilson at Katella (Division 3)
Wilson might have the best chance to win a playoff game on the road at Katella. Katella went undefeated and won the Orange League title, but the Orange League is relatively weak sauce. Ryan Pettway and Nick Endres have been throwing the ball well for the Bruins as of late and CF Ryan Guerrero has a ton of pop at the top of the lineup.
Poly at Sage Hill (Division 3)
The good news for Poly is Cabrillo isn’t in Division 3. Poly plays in the wild card game in Division 3 and if they win, they’ll play Fullerton on the road. I don’t count wild card wins as playoff wins because that’s like counting a play-in game between two 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament. It’s ridiculous. But if Poly advances to the big dance, I like their chances. Long Beach vs. Fullerton? I’ll take Long Beach infinity out of infinity times.
Good luck to all the Moore League teams! Win one for the old-timers like me.