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Tommy Wilcox's three-hit shutout moves CdM atop the Pacific Coast League with Beckman

By MANNY ALVAREZ; Daily Pilot, 04/04/18, 9:30AM PDT


Corona del Mar High knows that it can't give any leverage to Beckman with the Pacific Coast League baseball title on the line.

With Tommy Wilcox on the mound, the defending league champion Sea Kings did not on Tuesday. They moved into a first-place tie with the Patriots.

The junior threw a three-hit shutout to lead the visiting Sea Kings to a 1-0 victory over Beckman in a pitchers' duel.

Wilcox struck out five and won the battle against Justin Goldstein. Beckman's starter threw 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven while allowing one earned run and five hits.

Goldstein gave up the game's lone run in the top of the fourth inning. It came after Chazz Martinez got the Sea Kings' first hit.

The UC Santa Barbara-bound senior advanced to second base on a passed ball. Luc Stuka singled in Martinez, and CdM (8-4, 5-1 in league) looked like it would break the game open. The Sea Kings loaded the bases with one out, but Goldstein got out of the jam with an inning-ending double play.

The one run was enough for Wilcox, who walked one and hit one batter.

"It was Tommy all day long," CdM coach John Emme said of his right-hander, who threw 99 pitches, 62 for strikes. "He hasn't had his best stuff this year, and today he just came [out] like the guy that we saw last year, [when he went 5-1 with a 1.88 earned-run average]. He was locating his fastballs, using his off-speed [pitches], and dominated a great hitting team."

Beckman (9-3-1, 5-1) never really threatened. The Patriots reached second base twice on stolen bases.

Outside of the fourth inning, the Sea Kings only advanced to second base once.

The teams will battle again on Friday at 3:30 p.m., when CdM hosts Beckman in the rubber match of the three-game series.

"If you're a fan, this was a good game to watch," Beckman coach Kevin Lavalle said. "It's not going to be easy for us on Friday and it's not going to be easy for them on Friday. You feel bad about [the loss] for 12 hours and quickly get back to work."

Reece Berger, Blake Butcher and Kieran Sidebotham also had a hit for the Sea Kings.

The only players to get a hit off Wilcox were brothers Matt and Nick McLain, and Connor McGuire.

"I was just trying to throw strikes on the mound," Wilcox said. "Coach [Paul Possemato] was calling a great game. I didn't shake him off once. We got a key hit by Stuka. If we didn't win this one, the next [one] doesn't really matter. Now we have to get the next one."

Each of the first two games between CdM and Beckman have been one-run battles. The Patriots won the first meeting at CdM 5-4 on March 16.

Lavalle said he's unsure who will start for him on the mound at CdM. The Sea Kings will hand the ball to Martinez, a left-hander, on Friday.

"Chazz has to throw strikes and attack them," Wilcox said. "They're good hitters, but if you hit your spot, I don't think any high school kid is going to get consistent hits."