Leopards take control of SCIAC baseball race

The race for a conference title in baseball usually comes down to the last day in the SCIAC. But  that doesn’t look like it will be the case this year as the University of La Verne (22-10, 17-4) is sitting in control.

The Leopards began the weekend tied for first with Cal Lutheran but they swept the Kingsmen, finished off by a 13-3 mercy-rule humbling today in the second game of a doubleheader at Mt. SAC.

It was the last of the three-game series. Now its on to the round robin where each team will play one last game against every other team. So  Laverne has a three-game lead on Cal Lutheran (19-11, 14-7) and a four-game lead on suddenly-surging Pomona-Pitzer (19-11-1, 13-8).

So there are seven games left, six if you throw out each team’s game against winless Caltech. That’s a pretty decent lead for this point in the season. La Verne Coach Scott Winterburn is optimistic but cautious because he knows his team is likely going to get every team’s best pitcher this time around.

The Leopards did agood job of keeping their composure with Cal Lutheran doing its best to stir things up. The Kingsmen pitchers hit five batters, plunking Michael Stewart three times. It hardly seemed like a coincidence given that Stewart had laid a hard but clean tag on a Cal Lu runner early in the game on a baserunning blunder.

Asked about the repeated plunkings Winterburn played it down. Whether it was intentional or not, the Leopards did their talking with their bats, punshing the Kingsmen and finally putting them out of theuir misery with a five-run eighth.

And consider that this is a team without a home field. The Leopards are nomads of sorts, practicing at nearby Damien High School and having to play home games at Mt. SAC, Azusa Pacific, wherever.

Yet the Leopards just go about their business. They deserve to win this SCIAC title and when they do it will be a reward for a job well done!