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Millikan Beats Oilers for Title

Long Beach Millikan has always enjoyed playing in the Big West baseball tournament. But the Rams had never won more than two games in any of their three previous appearances.

Millikan will fondly remember the 1998 tournament after winning the title with a 12-3 victory over Huntington Beach Wednesday at Windrow Park.

The Rams--who were runners-up to Esperanza in last year’s Southern Section Division I title game--put the game away early, roughing up Oiler starter Jeff Lineberger for nine runs and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings, then coasting to their 14th victory in 17 games this season.

Millikan right-hander Mike Aguirre (5-0) went five innings, walking four and striking out four.

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“This is a huge win for us,” Millikan Coach Dan Peters said. “We play the No. 1 team in our league [Long Beach Wilson] next week, and this is going to give us momentum heading into that game.

“We didn’t have [top pitcher] Randy Tymchak [out with mononucleosis] here, and for us to come in and win without one of our top guys is huge.”

Huntington Beach Coach Mike Dodd was also proud of his team’s performance in the tournament, if not the title game.

“We have no excuses,” Dodd said. “But Jeff has pitched a lot and he couldn’t get his breaking stuff over tonight. And when you can only throw a fastball to that team, they’re going to hit you pretty well.

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“But we found out some things about our kids this week. We are better off with Jeff just playing shortstop and using some others guys as the No. 2 or 3 pitcher. And we also beat some good teams in the tournament, so there are plenty of positives to go around.”

Lineberger (2-3) had a 1-0 lead when the Oilers took advantage of two Millikan errors in the top of the first to squeeze out an unearned run. In the bottom of first, however, the Rams sent 10 batters to the plate, and five of them scored.

Millikan scored four more runs in the second. The key hit was a bases-clearing double by catcher Eric Slater, which made it 8-1.

Millikan first baseman Andy Tisdale, who had two hits and drove in three runs Wednesday, was named the tournament MVP.

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Huntington Beach got two hits each by catcher Shawn Shuck, first baseman Jeff Ruziecki and designated hitter Ty Bonchonsky.

In the third-place game:

University, 5, La Puente Bishop Amat 1--The Trojans’ three-run fourth inning was highlighted by Orion Ledesma scoring on a balk and Jordan Cumsky scoring on Steve Nolan’s sacrifice fly. Joe Foster (1-0), who replaced University starter Tom Davis in the third, was the winner.


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