Perfect league opening for Malibu High baseball

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Senior Steven Williams reaches under the tag as he steals home plate for the Sharks against Oak Park. Williams was 2 for 3 on the night, including two home runs.

The Malibu High School baseball team began league play last week with two wins over the Oak Park Eagles. Going into league play, the Sharks, led by head coach Paul Gallo, held an impressive record of 7-2, and hoped to preserve their perfect 5-0 record at home.

The Sharks are also looking to make up for their disappointing season last year, in which they went 4-8 in league play and 7-18 overall.

The first Oak Park game took place last Wednesday on the road. Sophomore pitcher Matt Cathcart led the Sharks to a narrow 6-5 victory, despite Malibu power hitters Sean Conrad, Steven Williams and Jacob Perrin going hitless in the game.

Two days later, the teams met again in the Sharks’ league home opener. Malibu looked like a different team in the rematch, blasting the Eagles, 7-1. In the first inning, after allowing Oak Park’s only run of the game, senior pitcher Jacob Perrin got on base with a walk and senior catcher Williams stepped up to the plate, blasting a two run home run out of the park. In the third inning, Williams led the Sharks off, rocketing his second home run, a solo shot that put the Sharks up 3-1. By the fourth inning, Malibu led 7-1, thanks to 5 1/3 innings pitched by Perrin with three strikeouts. In the sixth inning, the Sharks brought sophomore Jesse Conrad to the mound. He was able to successfully finish off the game, allowing only one hit and throwing one strikeout.

Williams finished the night 2 for 3, with two home runs, 3 RBI and an intentional walk that gave him the opportunity to steal home.

“He’s a great player,” Perrin said. “He’s one of the best this program’s ever seen. There’s no reason performances like that should stop.”

The Sharks also saw strong performances from juniors Sean Conrad, who went 2 for 4 with two runs, and Justin Hale, who went 1 for 2 with a decisive double in the third inning. Even with their early success in league, the Sharks know they cannot get ahead of themselves.

“We didn’t do well in league last year, and we’re still the underdog, so we have to keep playing hard, stay strong, stay confident, but stay humble too,” Perrin said.

Gallo added, “We’re not that good that we can just go out, strap it on and play. We’ve got to go out and play well, and know that any day we can get beat.”

The Sharks return to action Monday with a non-league game against Montclair Prep, and continue league play at home on Wednesday and on the road Friday against Santa Paula. The Sharks will take on Nordhoff at home on April 16, with the first pitch at 3:30 p.m.