Defending CIF champs end Cardinals’ season in second round shutout

Oxford Academy, the two-time defending CIF Division 6 champion, did not allow Bishop Diego  to intervene in its run to a three-peat, shutting out the Cardinals 4-0 on Tuesday at Bishop Diego in the second round of the CIF baseball playoffs.

The reigning champs from Cypress were undefeated in the Academy League (15-0) and  victorious in both the 2009 and 2010 Divison 6 CIF championship games held at UC Riverside.

“Everybody wishes we could have gone farther, but we got the chance to play the number one team in our division, and we didn’t play that poorly against them,” said Bishop Diego coach Dan Yokubaitis.

Both teams got off to a strong start defensively, with the game scoreless after the first two innings.

The Patriots came through with timely hitting in the top of the third. With two outs and the bases loaded off two walks and a single, Daniel Lucak hit a single to score two runs. Hayden Higger stepped up and followed with a double to score Steve Criss, pushing the lead to 3-0.

Lucak (6-1) also pitched the first five innings for Oxford, allowing five hits while striking out two.

Bishop Diego came close to connecting on a home run in the fourth, with a Reese Moulton bomb to the fence. Patriots’ Nick Foutris was able to jump and grab the ball over the fence, stealing the potential homer from the Cardinals.

Oxford capatalized in the final inning with a one-run triple off the fence by Criss with two outs.

Criss closed-out the final two innings on the mound for the Patriots, allowing just one hit w hile striking out two.

“We pitched pretty well and played pretty good defense. We had timely hitting when we needed it,” said Oxford coach Cory Williams.

Williams, a first-year coach, is confident in his team’s potential to win a third straight title.

“It would mean a lot to the kids,” he said. “We have a resilient bunch. Wer’e not the most physically imposing team, but the kids find a way to win. They’re mentally tough and ready to compete. When we play better teams, we tend to play better ourselves and find a way to win.”

Cody Yokubaitis pitched a complete game for the Cardinals, allowing eight hits and two walks. He finished 7-3 for the year.

Hank Vanderfin went 2-for-2 at the plate, and Jack Gregson finished 1-3 with the only extra base hit for the Cardinals.

Bishop Diego finished 14-8 for the season.

Oxford Academy faces the winner of Boron vs. Brentwood in the third round.

Oxford Academy 4 Bishop Diego 0

Oxford..003 000  1 — 4 8 1
Bishop Diego…000 000 0 — 0 6 2
Lucak, Criss (6) and Higger; Yokubaitis and Salda. W-Lucak (6-1) L-Yokubaitis (7-3).
2B—O: Higger ,BD-Gregson.  3B—O: Criss