CLOVER PARK — For a guy not expected to be one of the team’s aces coming into the season, Crossroads’ Holden Miller has been a pleasant surprise for the Roadrunners.

His importance to the team was in full glory on Tuesday as he pitched a complete game, one-hitter against Pasadena’s Marshall High School to clinch the Delphic League title during a 15-0 romp.

“Coach Pat [Armstrong] has a lot of confidence in me,” Miller said. “He told me to do my thing and I almost had a no-hitter.”

The junior finished the game with eight strikeouts and improved his season record to 9-3.

Miller was thrust into the starting rotation as Josh Flyer and last year’s ace Max Robinson battled shoulder problems. Flyer has returned to the lineup as the league season began and has helped form a potent one-two punch for the Roadrunners. Robinson, who has continued to play third base, hasn’t pitched of late, but may be ready for the playoffs, Co-Head Coach Armstrong said.

“He’s right there, right on the cusp of being ready to go,” Armstrong said. “We just can’t rush it. We have to do the right thing.”

He joked that he and Co-Head Coach Matt Amido have had situations where they would really like to put Robinson on the mound, but the two have resisted the temptation.

“This is just his junior season,” Armstrong said. “It isn’t the end of the line for him.”

While Robinson may still see time on the mound, Armstrong said he’s confident that he has the arms to compete for a California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 6 title.

“As far as pitching goes, it will be the same,” Armstrong said. “Our two main dogs will be Holden and Flyer.”

Despite not being a factor as a pitcher, Robinson has had a strong season at the plate. He has collected 20 runs batted in during the team’s 22 games.

“He’s still one of our top offensive producers,” Armstrong said. “I can’t complain. I always want more, more, more, but he’s carried his weight.”

Robinson has been clutch for the Roadrunners all year, but it’s the play of junior shortstop Andres Leyva that has paced the offense. His .424 batting average leads the team and he’s been a beast on the basepaths, swiping 16 bases. The team’s leadoff man has also scored 24 runs, numbers Armstrong said have been key to the team’s strong play.

While the Roadrunners have had their way offensively with league opponents en route to a 7-0 league record, both Miller and Armstrong say that pitching and fielding are the team’s strengths. Both believe it’s important to stick to that formula if the team is to have a successful playoff run.

“Going into the playoffs, we have to play our game,” Robinson said. “Our game is keeping it simple — defense and pitching.”

He added that the team’s offense can be potent at times, but they shouldn’t rely on that too much.

“If we don’t play the other team’s game,” Robinson said, “we can make a run at CIF.”

Before the Roadrunners can finalize plans for the postseason, the team will have a rematch with Marshall today on the road. The game, which doesn’t have league implications, may factor into where Xrds is seeded in the playoffs. The team, currently ranked 10th in the current CIF-SS Division 6 poll, will most likely host a first-round game next week.

Armstrong said he will play some of the team’s younger players, but isn’t taking the game lightly.

“We always play to win,” he said. “We always approach games the same way, regardless of who we play.”

daniela@www.smdp.com

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