Coach Bill Sizemore of Thousand Oaks High had plenty to be pleased with after the Lancers defeated Royal, 7-0, Friday at Thousand Oaks.
After going undefeated in the San Fernando Valley Invitational, Thousand Oaks has followed up with two impressive victories to open the Marmonte League baseball season.
Two weeks into the season, Thousand Oaks (8-0, 2-0 in league play) is only two victories shy of last year's victory total.
Thousand Oaks hit three home runs and played solid defense, but nobody set the tone more than junior right-hander Matt Rogers.
One of the hottest pitchers in the region, Rogers (3-0) handcuffed Royal (3-3, 0-1), giving up one hit and striking out eight batters in five innings. Sophomore left-hander Tracy Goebel continued the mastery, pitching two hitless innings and striking out three, finishing the one-hitter.
Of the 11 strikeouts, seven Highlanders took a called third strike.
Rogers had a 1.94 earned-run average as a sophomore, but he is vastly improved. In 19 innings this season, Rogers has allowed five hits, 24 strikeouts and no runs.
"Matt was one of the better pitchers in the league last year and nobody recognized it," Sizemore said. "He's on a mission this year."
Other than a catcher's interference call on John Smith to open the game, Royal didn't have a baserunner until Jason Bowers singled to left with two out in the third inning. Rogers walked the next batter, Tyrone Kimbrough, but didn't allow another batter to reach base.
Rogers was pulled after the fifth to save him for a start Wednesday against Westlake.
David Perry's three-run home run to center field highlighted a four-run first inning for the Lancers.
Thousand Oaks didn't let up. In the second inning, a sacrifice fly by Billy Lockin scored Wes Munyon.
In the fourth inning, the Nos. 8 and No. 9 hitters, Munyon and Brian Forkin, hit consecutive home runs to an identical spot beyond the left-field fence.
Other than the catcher's interference call, the Thousand Oaks defense was flawless. Second baseman Adam Leavitt made two stops deep in the hole between first and second base to snare potential singles.
"I hope our guys pay attention to how Thousand Oaks played," Royal Coach Dan Maye said. "We're going to have to play together like that or we're not going to have a chance. [Thousand Oaks] is probably the best team in Ventura County."
The Lancers purged the memories of 21-5 loss to the Highlanders last season, when Thousand Oaks committed nine errors.
"We remembered but Coach Sizemore reminded us," Rogers said.
"He told us Royal came into our place and punched us in the face."