LOS ANGELES -- Newbury Park’s Luke Eubank has been hard to hit all season. He was especially tough in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship game at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
He gave up only three hits, struck out eight, and beat Corona, 2-1, to win the first CIF championship for Newbury Park since 1968.
Coming into the championship game, Eubank (11-0) had a 1.01 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched. He also had pitched three no-hitters.
Eubank pitched a masterful complete game against Corona. He was perfect through the first three innings. He gave up a run in the fourth inning, then retired the last 11 batters he faced.
“Luke throws a lot of first-pitch strikes,” Newbury Park coach Matt Goldfield said. “After Luke got through that inning, he battled, battled, battled. I know he was a little bit tired, but I wasn’t taking him out, believe me.”
Corona starter Pat Duarte was nearly as effective as Eubank. He gave up only seven hits in six innings and struck out three with no walks.
But he ran into trouble in the third inning.
Nick Lovullo led off the inning with a double into left field. He reached third base when the left fielder misplayed the ball in the corner.
Taylor Zander knocked in Lovullo with a one-out double. Ricky Davis followed with another RBI double to give Newbury Park a 2-0 lead.
But that was about all the offense Newbury Park (20-14) could muster off of Duarte.
“Pat stood up and put his chest out there, put the C out there, the big Corona logo, and fought for us until the cows came home,” Corona coach Andy Wise said. “He gave us a chance and we couldn’t muscle in an extra run.”
Corona (20-8) cut the Newbury Park lead in half in the top of the fourth inning. Derek Robison drove in Zak Cavazos with a one-out single. But Corona left the bases loaded after Eubank struck out John Gonzalez and got Connor Christner to ground out to second to end the inning.
“Our pitching did such a great job all year,” Wise said. “We hung in every game, whether we were down or up, and I’m talking through the playoffs. Even when we were down early, there was never a hiccup or a hesitation to the point where we didn’t think we could come back.”
Newbury Park tried to tack on insurance runs late in the game. Zander hit a one-out double in the fifth inning, but was stranded at second base.
Joe Christian hit a long fly ball to left field that was caught on the warning track in the sixth inning. It made Goldfield wonder what his team had to do to score another run.
“I said to my coaches the only way I think they can hang with us is if it’s a 2-1, 3-2 game,” Goldfield said. “They came back. I have to give them a lot of credit. They swung the bats.”