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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOLS

The Times' baseball player of year: Luke Eubank of Newbury Park

The senior right-hander's impressive season includes an 11-0 record and a victory in the Southern Section Division 1 championship game.

June 10, 2012|Eric Sondheimer
  • Newbury Park pitcher Luke Eubank during the Southern Section Division 1 baseball semifinal between Mater Dei and Newbury Park.
Newbury Park pitcher Luke Eubank during the Southern Section Division… (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

Luke Eubank threw his glove so high after striking out the final batter in the Southern Section Division 1 championship baseball game at Dodger Stadium that it seemed as if it were headed to the space station.

His display of arm strength, aided by a burst of adrenaline, was another unexpected occurrence in a season full of surprises. He threw three no-hitters. He threw six shutouts. He had 11 complete-game victories. He gave up just 36 hits in 83 innings while compiling an 11-0 record and 1.01 earned-run average.

"This kid won every game he had to win," Newbury Park Coach Matt Goldfield said.

For being the most dominant pitcher in Southern California and leading the Panthers to their first Division 1 championship and a 21-7 record, Eubank has been selected The Times' player of the year.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior right-hander took a leap of faith this season. He stopped worrying about how hard to throw and focused on throwing strikes. And no one was quite like him. Games would take just 75 minutes or less to complete. It was a simple but devastating strategy that he pulled off game after game.

"I hit my spots and was effective," he said. "I'd keep them off balance and mix up everything I had."

His pitches' movement was so unpredictable that hitters never could figure out how to counter him.

"The kid is a strike thrower," said Loyola Coach Brian Felten, whose team was no-hit by Eubank. "He knows what he wants to do."

Eubank signed with Cal State Los Angeles, an NCAA Division II school, in November, and he intends to keep his commitment. Goldfield thinks Eubank will continue to have success.

"This kid is going to win at every level," he said.

It will be difficult to duplicate a season in which Eubank proved unbeatable and sometimes unhittable.

"It's probably the best season I'm going to have in my life," he said.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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