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Irvine Press Box: Kaprielian takes Beckman to the top ... and more sports news
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Beckman junior James Kaprielian wanted to make this a special season for him and the Patriot seniors.
He certainly did.
Kaprielian, a Register first team all-county player and the city of Irvine's baseball player of the year, was the Patriots' man in big games.
He pitched a complete game in Beckman's 4-1 victory over Woodbridge in the Division 3 title game at Dodger Stadium to help the Patriots win their first CIF baseball championship. Kaprielian, the CIF Division 3 player of the year, allowed just four hits and struck out seven in the seven-inning gem.
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"It was a really important season, not only for me but for the team," Kaprielian said. "The seniors were bonded together. We had our ups and downs as a team but they pulled together and pulled through for us because we had our goal set that we wanted to go to CIF and win it, especially after being eliminated last year by Ocean View."
Kaprielian realized he had to do his part.
"I knew I had to pitch the best I could to support my team," he said.
Kaprielian wound up 11-1 with a 1.09 ERA. He had 80 strikeouts and at one point, faced 121 hitters without giving up a walk. The PCL pitcher of the year held opponents to a .190 batting average and came within two outs of throwing a no-hitter against Woodbridge.
"If you went to any of our games and saw James pitch, you were left impressed with his athletic ability, his arm, his poise, and his command of three pitches," said Beckman Coach Kevin Lavalle.
"You probably think those are the reasons he finished 11-1 with eight complete games and five shutouts. But you have to be around James during the rest of the week to see him prepare to really appreciate all that goes into it for him.
"When he actually steps on a mound, all he is doing is repeating everything he has practiced for the past week."
It was evident from the start that his hard work would pay off.
Kaprielian and his teammates were feeling good after winning the Pacific Coast League title.
"After that, we just took it game by game in playoffs," he said. "We finally made it to Dodger Stadium and the finals, and it was time to take care of business once we got there."
Kaprielian did it all with the support of his parents.
"My mom has definitely pushed me," he said. "She's always there for me to bring me up. My dad is always pretty rough on me as he should be but my mom is always there, making me food and she always has Gatorade ready. I can't ask for anything more of a mom."
Kaprielian, at the encouragement of his father, is always trying to get better on the mound. His goals are to pitch in college once his high school career is over.
"I always think there is room for improvement, especially with me. I'm going to be in the weight room a lot, running a lot and being out there with my pitching coach trying to get better," he said.
This summer Kaprielian, also a wide receiver, defensive back and linebacker will be preparing for next football season with Beckman. But he's also working on getting better as a baseball player.
Beckman figures to have a shot at defending its baseball title.
"It's definitely in the back of my mind," Kaprielian said. "But summer is here, and all I want to do is get better as a player and maybe put a little more velocity behind my fastball and maybe develop another pitch."
Kaprielian is still cherishing the moment when the Patriots celebrated the CIF title on the field at Dodger Stadium.
"It was a good season and a fun run with those guys," he said. "I'm sad it's over but I'm glad it ended like it did."
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