Channel Islands High threw some of the Marmonte League’s top hitters at Westlake’s Mike Eby on Friday, but the left-hander countered with near-perfect control in the Warriors’ 1-0 win at Westlake.
Eby (4-0) limited Channel Islands, which entered the game with a .350 batting average, to one hit as Westlake improved its league-leading record to 5-0. Westlake’s 11-0 start is the best in school history.
Eby, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior, needed just 60 pitches and allowed only Rich Tepezano (double) and Ventura Juarez (walk) to reach base. Eby’s fastball peaks at 80 m.p.h., but two-thirds of his 60 pitches were strikes and he threw more than two balls to only Juarez.
“He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he spots the ball really well,” Channel Islands Coach Don Cardinal said. “He sets the tempo and stays within himself.”
Channel Islands’ aggressive, first-pitch batting strategy didn’t hurt Eby, either. Eight times, Eby needed only one pitch to retire a batter. He also had a streak in which seven were retired on eight pitches.
“That makes things real easy and real fun,” said Eby, who lowered his earned-run average to 0.77.
Yet he seldom had time to relax.
Channel Islands’ Manuel Padilla (2-2), a senior right-hander, limited Westlake to singles by Mike Lieberthal and James Jones and an unearned run.
“I don’t want to take any credit away from Manny, but we just can’t buy a hit right now,” Coach Rich Herrera said.
Westlake scored in the second inning. Todd Preston walked, stole second, and reached third on a passed ball. Preston scored one out later, when Keenan McAluney hit a high hopper that third baseman Angel Aragon fielded but followed with a wild throw to first.
Channel Islands (7-5, 1-3) threatened to score in the sixth when Juarez walked and pinch-runner Lamont Pearson was sacrificed to second. But Eby retired the next two hitters on four pitches.