Marina falls in CIF title game

LOS ANGELES — This time, there were no late-inning heroics for the Marina High baseball team.

The Vikings had their bid to win the programs' first CIF Southern Section title in 10 years and third, overall, denied by North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake which survived a 1-0 contest in the Division 1 championship game at Dodger Stadium.

Marina had its chances to upend the No. 3-seeded Wolverines but could not convert scoring opportunities in the third and seventh innings, and had a nine-game win streak snapped.

"We didn't get the job done," Marina Coach Bob Marshall said. "Bases loaded in that [third] inning, and then in the sixth.

"It's tough. But I tip my hat to that team [Harvard-Westlake]. They are well-coached and made plays."

Marina (22-9) was down a run heading into the seventh and had been limited to just three hits by Harvard-Westlake junior Jack Flaherty, a right-handed pitcher who has committed to North Carolina. But Tyler Mildenberg breathed some life into the Vikings' offense when he sent a single through the middle of the infield to start the inning. Mildenberg went to second base on Landon Marshall's sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run in scoring position.

Grant Mayeaux followed Marshall and ripped an 0-1 pitch for a single into left field. Mildenberg rounded third and headed for home, but never made it. Harvard-Westlake left fielder Ezra Steinberg fielded Mayeaux's hit and fired a strike to home where catcher Arden Pabst blocked the plate and laid the tag on Mildenberg who had no chance to score.

"I told the kids after the game, that one was one me," said Bob Marshall who waved Mildenberg toward home from the third base coaching box. "Tyler's one of our fastest kids and I was going to send him. That kid [Steinberg] made a clutch throw. It was money."

After Pabst prevented the tying run from crossing the plate, Austin Moore lined a single into right field on the next pitch to put runners at first and second with two out. Pinch hitter Bryan Perez sent a grounder to shortstop where the Wolverines' Brian Ginsberg flipped the ball to second baseman Alex Horowitz who stepped on the bag to end the game.

Harvard-Westlake (28-4) scored the game's only run in the bottom of the third. Flaherty aided his pitching effort by getting a two-out single to right field on a full count which scored Casey Rosenfeld who hit a lead-off single.

The winning run came after Marina couldn't convert a bases-loaded situation in the top-half of the third.

Mayeaux got his first hit of the game when he lined a single to left field. Austin Moore laid down what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt but he beat out Flaherty's throw to first. One out later, lead-off hitter Jake Bauers drew a walk to load the bases. Flaherty got Jake Arledge to pop up in foul play near first base, then struck out Austin Sojka to get out of the jam.

Arledge delivered a one-out single in the sixth but Flaherty struck out the next two batters.

Flaherty finished with seven strikeouts and sent the Vikings down in order in four of the first five innings.

"He's the real deal," Marshall said of Flaherty.

Marina couldn't find the run it needed. In a semifinal game against Los Angeles Loyola on Tuesday, the Vikings came up big late by scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out a 6-5 victory.

"To be on the losing end of this one, will sting for a while," Marshall said. "We had our chances but couldn't get it done."

Both teams finished with six hits and each played error-free.

Marina also cut down a runner attempting to score. The play came in the bottom of the third after Flaherty's RBI single. Pabst doubled down the line in right field and on the hit to the corner, Flaherty flew around the bases from first and was headed for home. Sojka fielded the ball, hit Bauers with the cutoff throw, and Bauers threw to catcher Landon Marshall who tagged out Flaherty.

Austin Olivas started for Marina. The senior left-hander limited a powerful Harvard-Westlake offense to a single run. Olivas gave up six hits, struck out three and didn't allow a walk in his five innings. Senior Dee Atwood started the sixth and threw to three batters before being replaced by senior Maxwell Gibbs.

Harvard-Westlake was held to its second-lowest run total of the season. The Wolverines also defeated Valencia/Valencia, 1-0, in their fourth game of the year. They were shut out, 4-0, by Mater Dei on March 30.

The Wolverines, who shared the Mission League title with Loyola, had outscored their four previous playoff opponents, 27-4, a run which started with a 7-1 win over Valencia/Valencia.

Sixteen of their 28 wins were by shutout.

Marina was shut out for only the second time this year.

"I was pumped up all day and had everything working," said Olivas who had complete-game victories in the postseason against Norco (2-1) and Agoura (3-1). "The first inning was the hardest inning, with this crowd, and all. When I got out of it without any damage, I felt a lot of relief."

Marina won 15 of its final 18 games to close the season and finished runner-up in the Sunset League.

Marshall addressed his team in right field after the game.

"I told them, look how far they came," he said. "There are 18 seniors on this team, and it's hard. My heart breaks for them."

The Marina-Harvard-Westlake game was the third of three divisioin finals of the day at Dodgers Stadium. The announced total attendance for the three games was 8,019.

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