Villa Park showcases its depth in dominant Boras Classic win over JSerra
Four games. Four days. Kings, queens, aces — Villa Park coach Burt Call had played most every card in his deck of pitchers.
But he still had a jack up his sleeve.
Trotting out to the mound in the championship game of the Boras Classic wasn’t Brandon Luu or Zach Brown or AJ Krodel, the Spartans’ trio of junior pitchers who had pitched all but 42-and-change of their team’s innings this season. The starter would be sophomore Justin Tims, who’d never started a game for the Spartans and had thrown all of 6 1/3 innings on the year.
Call had confidence.
“I think he’ll do a good job,” Call said earlier Friday of Tims.
Any pitcher looks great behind an offensive onslaught, and Villa Park (24-2) lit up the scoreboard early en route to an 11-3 win over JSerra (15-10).
The win clinched an impressive run for the Spartans across a tournament overflowing with Southern California talent, staking a claim as the team to beat heading into the playoffs.
“They circled this tournament on the schedule, because they wanted to show people the type of team they are,” Call said. “They did that this week, and I’m very proud of them.”
The Classic served as a postseason preview in one key respect — the importance of pitching depth.
Villa Park jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, teeing off against JSerra starter Tristan Lamaison.
But as Tims delivered his first offerings of the evening, showcasing a fastball that sat between 80 to 82 mph with a sneaky tail, it was clear he was no desperation option.
Up came leadoff hitter Andrew Lamb in the bottom of the first. Strikeout.
Then junior Trent Caraway. Strikeout. Then Ryusei Fujiwara. Strikeout.
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Coming off the mound, Tims clenched his fists and yelled.
“I think this is a great opportunity for Justin to grow as a young pitcher, and to gain confidence that he can perform in big games,” Call said.
“That’ll carry over into the playoffs and also the next few years.”
“My coaches gave me the shot, and I struggled a little bit late, but I felt good and I helped the team get the win,” Tims said. “That’s all that matters.”
Villa Park’s Mason Miles took home the game’s defensive MVP award, while Britton Beeson was named the player of the game, knocking in five runs on the night in addition to his first home run of the year.
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