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PREP BASEBALL: Oaks, Woodcrest too tough for Linfield

03/04/2013, 2:31pm PST
By By MARK E. STRODER - For The Californian

TEMECULA -- Woodcrest Christian pitcher Trevor Oaks felt the

TEMECULA -- Woodcrest Christian pitcher Trevor Oaks felt the stiff breeze to his right, and used it to move his curve ball further to the left.

And the Linfield Christian hitters could do little more than whiff at the wind.

Oaks and Mother Nature joined forces Thursday afternoon, with the 6-foot-3 senior tossing a one-hitter, while striking out 15 in the Royals' 5-0 road victory over the Lions.

"The wind was kind of blowing in toward left field, so it gave my curve ball a little bit more bite," said Oaks, who will pitch for Biola University next season. "It was breaking down and away a little more than usual.

"I was able to get ahead early and then go to the curve ball."

Woodcrest Christian, the top-ranked baseball team in the CIF Southern Section Division V poll, raised its record to 10-2, 6-0 in the Ambassador League. The No. 5 ranked Lions dropped to 5-5, 2-3.

"Part of the strategy is that you pick a pitch that you feel comfortable with, and then you look for that pitch during your at-bat," said Lions coach Jeff Nichols. "Our guys did not show the discipline that they needed in order to compete today against a pitcher of this caliber."

The Lions' only hit was a clean single to left by Michael Fagan in the fourth. He was the only Linfield batter to reach second base.

"He mixed up his speeds good. He hit his spots. He had a plan," said Linfield junior catcher AJ Acton, who struck out twice. "He remembered our past at-bats, and our tendencies, and everything.

"We haven't seen anything close to that this year."

Oaks struck out at least two hitters in six different innings, including three in the fifth.

John Davis and Matt Phillips each doubled down the left field line in the top of the first, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead.

Edwin Gibbs led off the third inning with a wicked one-hopper that Linfield Christian shortstop Zach Cope was unable to handle. Davis followed with a single.

The pair then executed a well-timed double steal that led to two additional runs, following sacrifice fly balls by Phillips and Caleb Dirks.

One run appeared almost insurmountable the way Oaks was throwing. The Royals made the climb that much tougher in the sixth.

That's when 6-foot-4, 250-pound Jason Shepherd came out of the dugout to pinch-hit. He crushed an Alex Bush offering high and deep over the right center field fence, giving Oaks a five-run cushion.

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