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Patriots finish with CIF crown

Irvine Scene

Beckman pushed all the right buttons to win the CIF Southern Section Division III title against city rival Woodbridge.

June 11, 2011|By Joe Haakenson, Daily Pilot
  • Beckman High junior pitcher James Kaprielian went 11-1 with a 1.09 earned-run average.
Beckman High junior pitcher James Kaprielian went 11-1… (Daily Pilot File…)

It's been more than a week now, but those in and around the Beckman High baseball team are still basking in the glow of a CIF championship.

Beckman beat Pacific Coast League rival Woodbridge, 4-1, at Dodger Stadium on June 2 to win the CIF Southern Section Division III title, followed immediately by the obligatory pile of bodies in the middle of the infield.

Beckman finished the season at 25-6 overall and 13-2 in league, and ranked 24th in California by Cal-Hi Sports. But what made the season so special for the Patriots was the process, and enduring the day-to-day grind of the season.

"A lot of it is bittersweet, especially for me because I'm a senior," said designated hitter Robert Solby. "We worked so hard, starting the minute we lost in the quarterfinals to Ocean View last year. This is the culmination of all that work. It's exciting and a relief to be at the top, but also a little bit sad because I know it's over."

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The victory over Woodbridge was typical of Beckman's season. They rode the right arm of starting pitcher James Kaprielian, who threw a complete-game four-hitter, and played their offensive game of getting guys on and moving runners over.

But the big blow of the game was Zack Rivera's two-run home run in the first inning, a drive just inside the left-field foul pole.

"After that home run there was a gigantic exhale from everybody," Beckman coach Kevin Lavelle said. "You could see it in their body language at that point. Even James pitched better after that. It was proof that we were a better team than them."

Beckman, though, didn't need the home run for that. They had played Woodbridge four times previously, winning three. Kaprielian won two of those games, including a one-hit shutout.

"In a one-game situation you really have to play your best, and I don't think we did that day," said Woodbridge coach Tim Murray, whose team finished the season 19-12. "In a high school baseball game against their No. 1 pitcher, and all-county kid, you have to be at your best."

Woodbridge made a couple of errors, but got a good performance on the mound from Ben Wylly, who gave up only one earned run and three hits in five innings. But he couldn't match the performance of Kaprielian, who finished his junior season going 11-1 with a 1.09 earned-run average.

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