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SportsThousand Oaks ends season with title, lifetime of recollections

Thousand Oaks ends season with title, lifetime of recollections

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During warmups earlier than Saturday’s Southern Section Division 2 baseball championship sport, Thousand Oaks’ Max Muncy and Roc Riggio clasped fingers in entrance of second base, their shared haven for 3 seasons.

As the final out settled into left fielder Easton Rulli’s glove, Riggio sprinted to double-play accomplice Muncy for one closing change. The two leaped in jubilation, arms circling in a windmill movement. They stayed within the air, it appeared, for an eternity.

They landed as CIF champions. It was the final hurrah for the power-hitting duo. But the 3-2 championship win over Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills, and the 37-1 report they’ve amassed over the past two seasons, will stand eternally in Thousand Oaks’ historical past.

“This is a great championship for us, and I think it’s a great championship for the teams behind me,” mentioned Muncy, who hit 11 dwelling runs and is headed to Arkansas. Riggio, who completed with 12 dwelling runs, is leaving for Oklahoma State. Both have MLB draft aspirations. Charlie Saum, the staff’s catcher and a .388 hitter, is headed to Stanford.

Jack Wilson accomplished his fifth yr as coach and can be leaving for different alternatives.

Thousand Oaks gained’t play on this week’s Southern California regional playoffs. Wilson mentioned the Lancers weren’t conscious of their eligibility till the part semifinals, and at that time gamers had made plans for showcases and holidays. That leaves Saturday’s championship — simply the second journey to the ultimate at school historical past — because the final reminiscence for this standout group.

As the Lancers pose for a photograph after profitable the Division 2 title, Max Muncy (13) takes a seat on the knee of Roc Riggio.

(Luca Evans / For The Times)

It’s a bunch that Wilson and Riggio each known as “family.”

“I know that no matter where I am in the world, no matter where they are, we can all call on each other,” Riggio mentioned.

The staff traveled Friday to the Fullerton Marriott, a brief stroll from the sport’s web site at Cal State Fullerton, for a closing evening collectively. It was an unforgettable expertise, Muncy mentioned, filled with the youthful exuberance of working out and in of one another’s lodge rooms.

That evening, the group had a staff dinner. Afterward, Riggio mentioned, everybody went round and named one thing they have been grateful for.

“Everyone said the same thing,” Riggio mentioned. “Everyone was so thankful for our coaches. Everyone was so thankful for each other. Everyone was so thankful to be out here and do the things we love.”

Coming off an 8-0 begin to final yr earlier than the COVID-19 shutdown, Thousand Oaks confronted the burden of expectations. The Lancers have been a consensus top-10 squad. Quickly, Wilson mentioned, the teaching workers shut down any notion that the media consideration meant one thing.

“That was one of our focuses, would be like, ‘Guys, I don’t care what our ranking is,’” Wilson mentioned. “‘That’ll never help us win a game. So don’t post it … it really doesn’t mean anything unless you go out and get the job done.’”

They did, time and time once more, led by the three-headed snake of Riggio, Muncy and Saum. They all stuffed completely different roles as leaders, Wilson mentioned. Riggio, the enforcer, pulling the staff collectively throughout lackluster practices. Muncy, the energizer, protecting the group unfastened along with his charisma. Saum, the trainer, breaking down performs for teammates.

The staff steamrolled opponents at each step of the way in which, thanks largely to a buzzing lineup that hit .344 with a school-record 42 dwelling runs.

The championship sport was a break from kind. Opposing pitcher Mason Molina of Trabuco Hills largely shut down Thousand Oaks’ bats, hanging out 9 and giving up simply 4 hits. Yet guile and well timed baserunning eked out the win: With two outs and the rating tied 2-2 within the fifth, Riggio dashed dwelling from third on a wild pitch.

He was “speechless” after the sport, he mentioned.

“To grind 30 games after the year we just had, this world’s been struggling,” Riggio mentioned. “To come out here and do something great for our community and our fans and each other, it’s more than baseball at this point.”

Many of the jubilant faces amid Thousand Oaks’ trophy celebration will go away city. Wilson already is in Minnesota to educate within the Northwoods League.

But the reminiscence of the best staff in Thousand Oaks historical past will linger.

Etc.

Division 1 champion Studio City Harvard-Westlake additionally will skip the regional, leaving the Southern Section with out its high two groups within the closing week of the season. Harvard-Westlake defeated San Juan Capistrano JSerra 3-0 behind a one-hitter from ace pitcher Christian Becerra. The Wolverines ended up defeating top-seeded JSerra thrice this spring and gained their first title since 2013.





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