Milken Community High School’s varsity baseball team attempted to make history on Friday, looking to capture the school’s first Southern Section championship. The Milken Wildcats (19-4 at game time) faced the returning Division 7 champions, the Camarillo Cornerstone Christian Eagles, at the UC Riverside Sports Complex.
Undefeated senior Ben Ludewig took the mound for Milken. Camarillo grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first, and then scored again in the bottom of the third. Milken’s Mitchell Mayer hit an RBI double in the top of the sixth, which brought the Wildcat’s Greg Kahan home and closed the gap 2-1. But Camarillo scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, ultimately defeating Milken 5-1.
“It was a heartbreaking loss,” Kahan said.
“They didn’t make any errors and they capitalized on ours,” Milken coach Chris Scarlata added.
Even with the loss, Scarlata believes the team has a lot to be proud of. Senior shortstop Josh Kolker graduates with 99 career stolen bases, junior outfielder David Blazer hit a school record five home runs this season, and Ludwig had back-to-back no-hitters this season.
“We played quality baseball for an entire season,” Scarlata said. “This team laid the foundation for many years to come.”
This was the furthest any Milken sports team has gone in a California Interscholastic Federation tournament since the Wildcats women’s soccer team in 2003. With sixth graduating seniors, the baseball team’s successful season was a culmination of four years of hard work.
“Six of us started out as freshman and for four years, everyday, we worked hard in the weight room and hard on the field,” Kahan said. “If anyone told me in the beginning that we’d get this far, I would have said they were crazy. But we came together and worked as one.”