Malibu Baseball Takes Third-Straight Southern California Invitational

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Noah Simon has been reliable on the mound for the Sharks. 

For the third year in a row, Malibu High School made the Southern California Invitational its own personal playground, winning the tournament on a 5-0 record. 

But the wins didn’t come easily during the invitational, which was held at San Fernando High School from March 4 through March 12. All five victories were come-from-behind battles, as the cardiac kids from Morning View Drive refused to lose. 

“We were down in every single game of that tournament,” Malibu coach Ari Jacobs said. “The guys have a never-say-die attitude. That is what going to carry them all year long. They don’t sit on their hands and they come out fighting. They learned a lot about themselves the first five games.” 

Malibu, ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division VI, began the 2014 season with a 4-3 road victory at San Marino. Tied 2-2 after seven innings, the Sharks scored two runs in the top of the ninth for the win. 

Senior Noah Simon threw seven innings and allowed only one run on eight strikeouts as he out-dueled Berkeley-bound Jeff Bain of San Marino. Senior Nick Anthony’s two-run double in the ninth proved to be the difference in the game and junior Andre Simoneau pitched effectively in relief to pick up the win.

Next, the Sharks dominated Viewpoint 10-5 in a second-round matchup. Bronson Bard, a junior, led the 13-hit attack with two hits and three runs batted in. 

During the Sharks’ third game of the tourney, this one against San Marcos, Simoneau posted another strong outing, going six innings and giving up only one run in Malibu’s 8-2 win. Senior standout Chase Lambert had two hits, including a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. 

Malibu made its way to the semifinals to face Hawthorne on the Sharks’ home turf. Down 5-3 with two outs in the sixth inning, Lambert blasted a two-run double that tied the game. 

Sophomore Dylan Ross continued the dramatics with a clutch walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to give MHS a 6-5 win and a trip back to the championship game for the third year in a row. 

Winning back-to-back-to-back titles for the Sharks took another uphill climb, as Sierra Canyon jumped out to a 4-1 lead heading into the seventh inning. Three outs from defeat, it was time to put on rally caps. 

Malibu roared back in its final at-bat, scoring four runs to take a 5-4 lead. Anthony provided the big blow again with a two-out two-run double. 

“We never thought we were going to lose that game,” Lambert said. “Once we got some hits and a couple walks we knew we could do it. Nick [Anthony] came up big. It was a great moment.” 

Senior Miles Tade entered the game and picked up his first save during a 1-2-3 inning to clinch the tournament. Senior Kris Keach had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Freshman Declan Sheridan pitched three innings of strong relief for the Sharks. 

“It’s a great feeling winning it three years in a row,” Simon said. “I didn’t have a doubt in my mind. We’ve always been a really good team when the game matters.” 

Sharks suffer doubleheader sweep 

After taking the invitational prize, Malibu (5-2) stumbled last Saturday, getting swept in a doubleheader at Burroughs High School of Burbank, 5-4 and 9-3. 

Lambert was one of the few bright spots. He hammered a home run and two doubles to go along with three RBIs. 

“I feel like I am seeing the ball a lot better now and am more locked in. I feel a lot stronger and it’s coming along,” said Lambert. 

Simon allowed only two runs through six innings of the first game. Sheridan tossed four innings in the second game, limiting the Indians to one run on three hits while fanning five batters. 

Errors and mental lapses cost Malibu, as Burroughs (3-4) rallied from one-run deficits late in both games to capture the victories. 

“We need to play better defense and we need to throw more strikes,” Jacobs said. “We are going to change things in practice and focus more on situational baseball. We had two late-inning leads and let both of them slip right through our hands. We have to keep fighting on every single pitch.” 

Next up is a doubleheader at Santa Monica on Friday. 

“It’s a big gut check right now,” Simon said. “We are going to be a different team. I have a good feeling about it.”