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Sharks secure three early wins

Andre Simoneau throws a pitch on Thursday, March 6, for the Sharks against San Marcos. Photos by Devon Meyers/22nd Century Media
Chris Falk slides into third base after a steal.
Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
2:27 pm PDT March 10, 2014

Deja vu kicked in for the Malibu High School baseball team on March 4, Wednesday, March 5, and Thursday, March 6, as they dominated the first three games of the Southern California Invitational, the tournament that opens their season every year and which they have won for the past two years.

Like dominos the Sharks took down San Marino 4-3, Viewpoint 10-5 and San Marcos 8-2, placing Malibu in a position to face-off against Division 1 teams Santa Monica and Burrows in a double header on Saturday, March 8.    

“It’s all about exposure,” Sharks head coach Ari Jacobs said. “That’s how you become great, by playing the best.”

Jacobs, who credits Southern California with having some of the most competitive baseball in the world, believes playing tournaments stacked with talented teams, like the Southern California Invitational, as a prelude to the Sharks’ league games has instilled a certain toughness in his players.

“A ‘never say die’ fighting attitude is the difference maker with these teams,” Jacobs said. “We’ve got that. We also know that if things get a little ugly early, we have the offense and the pitching to back us up and keep us fighting.”

That was precisely the story in Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games, when the opposed team drew first blood and the Sharks fought to keep their heads above water in the early innings. 

In both match-ups, Jacobs spared his starting pitcher and last year’s Frontier League Pitcher of the Year, Noah Simon, opting instead to pitch Miles Tade against Viewpoint and Andre Simoneau and Ezra Allen against San Marcos. 

“Andre pitched six innings and only let two runs in,” Jacobs said. “That shows the depth of our talent.”

Offensively, it was a bunt from Troy Schlobohm that began the two-out rally in the bottom of the second inning to break San Marcos’s 2-0 lead over the Sharks. A hard hit up the third base line by Allen, followed by a line drive up the middle from Dylan Ross brought in three more runs for the Sharks, bringing the score to 4-2. 

Malibu and San Marcos fell into a stalemate until the bottom of the fifth when Chase Lambert came out of the gate with a double, putting him in ideal scoring position for Chris Keach who knocked him home with a ground ball base hit up the middle. 

The Sharks added another three runs to the inning and headed into the final two innings with a sharp outfield and strong pitching to hold San Marcos to their two runs.    “Noah [Simon] is our ace; every time he is on the mound, he’s going to keep us in the game,” Jacobs said. “But we also know we’re deep in pitching. These games are proving that we don’t just have one guy who can get the job done for us.”