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Antioch Says See You Later to Simi Valley : High school baseball: Overconfident No. 1 Pioneers lose in tournament championship game, 13-7.


SPARKS, Nev. — Almost from the moment Simi Valley arrived in town, the Pioneers could feel their grip on the top spot in high school baseball slipping away.

After winning the Upper Deck Tournament last week at Fullerton and rising to No. 1 in the USA Today High School poll released Monday, Simi Valley displayed all the signs of an overconfident team.

"We were asking to get beat," Simi Valley's Bill Scheffels said after the Pioneers were upset, 13-7, by Antioch (Calif.) Thursday in the final of the High Sierra Classic at Sparks High.

"We came out flat at the beginning of each game. I think we were looking past this tournament."

With the exception of Scheffels' no-hitter in the tournament opener Tuesday, the first in school history, Simi Valley struggled.

Simi Valley could not overcome four errors and consecutive five-run innings by Antioch (8-4) in the second and third that put the Panthers ahead, 10-3.

The Pioneers also could not overcome the loss of four starters who were benched the first two innings for unspecified curfew violations Wednesday night.

Centerfielder Jason Alcala, third baseman Ryan Hankins, second baseman Britten Pond and No. 1 pitcher Trevor Leppard were the players held out of the starting lineup.

They also could not overcome a sluggish offense that had been averaging 13.5 runs per game. In three games this week, Simi Valley scored 21 runs.

"Everybody has their bad days," said catcher Kevin Nykoluk, who along with Scheffels, was named to the all-tournament team. "We didn't show anyone out here our best team."

It didn't help that Simi Valley (16-2), which is expected to drop a few notches in the USA Today Super 25, was the team everyone wanted to beat.

"We learned something here," Nykoluk said. "The lesson is that you have to be ready to play everybody. Hopefully we can use this as a confidence builder the rest of the way."

In other tournament action, Camarillo scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and went on to defeat Pittsburg (Calif.) for the consolation championship, 5-4.

Matt Buttell went the distance and had eight strikeouts for Camarillo (6-11). Buttell, who was named to the all-tournament team, had nine walks and was two for two.

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