Sharks playoff loss ends record-setting season

Alvaro Avarado slides back to first base during a game against the Santa Paula Cardinals on Friday.

The Malibu High baseball team was knocked out of the playoffs in the second round Wednesday, marking the end of an unprecedented season for Sharks baseball.

The 10-6 loss came against Calvary Chapel at Veteran’s Field in the City of Commerce.

The game started out well for the Sharks, with junior standout Chase Lambert drawing a leadoff walk in the first inning. Freshman Dylan Ross sacrificed Lambert into scoring position and the Sharks scored the game’s first run on sophomore Bronson Bard’s sac fly to deep center.

The Grizzlies answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, but the Sharks regained the lead in the next inning, 2-1 before Calvary scored two more and took a 3-2 lead.

Junior ace Noah Simon settled down and held the Grizzlies at three runs for the next two innings. Freshman Dylan Ross hit a clutch two-out single to left, scoring junior catcher Chris Falk to tie the game, after Falk had singled to lead off the fourth inning.

The game was tied at 3-3 until the top of the sixth inning when Falk delivered again with a lead-off 400-foot triple to center. Falk later scored when senior Alvaro ‘Alvie’ Alvarado doubled over the right fielder’s head.

The Sharks took a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning and were six outs away from a second-round win when the wheels unfortunately fell off.

Simon, who went an impressive 10-2 on the year and proved himself as one of the top pitchers in the southland, ran out of gas in the sixth and surrendered a leadoff walk and then a double before turning the ball over to sophomore lefty Andre Simoneau with a 4-3 lead.

Simoneau was forced to take on an unfamiliar role as closer in the playoffs after closer extraordinaire Chase Lambert went down with an arm injury toward the end of the season.

While not getting hit hard, Simoneau struggled to throw strikes. Junior pitcher Miles Tade was able to finally end the bottom of the sixth inning rally for Calvary Chapel, but not before the Grizzles scored seven runs and took a 10-4 lead going into the top of the seventh against the Sharks.

The never-say-die squad of Sharks mounted a last-inning rally of their own by loading the bases. Freshman Ezra Allen hit a RBI-single to right field. Alvarado then drew a two-out bases loaded walk as the Sharks made the score 10-6 with Chase Lambert stepping to the plate representing the tying run.

Lambert hit a ball to the deepest part of the park and narrowly missed a game-tying grand-slam in dramatic fashion.

A message from Coach Ari Jacobs:

The Sharks fought hard to the very last pitch and, as their head coach, I could not be more proud of them.

The 2013 season ends with the Sharks final overall record of 24-5 and they were Frontier League champions, going 13-2 in league play.

They smashed the record most wins in school history, won the championship of both tournaments they played in and won a CIF playoff home game before coming up just short in the second round of CIF Playoffs. While the Sharks will miss the leadership and solid play of seniors Alvie Alvarado, Frank Thomas and Riley McMillin, most of the squad is young, some very young and the Malibu Sharks baseball program is poised to continue improving each year while establishing itself as one of the top baseball programs around.

The exciting brand of highly successful team baseball will be the norm and 2013 Sharks baseball team should be incredibly proud of their efforts and achievements this year! Your dedication, hard work and success is to be applauded! Well done boys!