The University of La Verne baseball team took huge strides this past week in their attempt to defend their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.
The Leopard’s offensive attack was impressive in their victories as they defeated Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 9-3, Pomona-Pitzer, 8-3, Whittier, 8-5, and Occidental, 7-1.
The Leopards now stand alone atop the SCIAC standings with a 29-10 overall record and 17-5 in SCIAC.
“At this point of the season it’s very clear what the objective is,” head coach Scott Winterburn said. “It’s nice to be in a winning position."
It took a while for the Leopards’ bats to get hot in their game against the Stags on Wednesday, but once they did, they did not turn back.
Junior Jonathan Marty led the offensive attack, hitting a two-run home run and recording five RBIs on the day.
“Things went well for us against Claremont,” junior Lucas Berry said. “Marty had a huge game.”
The strong Leopard offense dominated the Sagehens last Sunday.
Senior catcher B.J. DuBarry and sophomore Danny Bonilla each had impressive performances at the plate, with both of them finishing the day 3-for-4.
Mark Simmons struck out five Sagehen batters in eight innings to earn the win.
After falling behind 5-1, the Sagehens found themselves back in the game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh and cutting the La Verne’s lead in half.
The Leopards were able to put the Sagehens optimism to rest scoring three runs in the top half of the ninth inning on RBIs from Bonilla, Greg Chico and Marty.
La Verne’s bats were on fire against Whittier last Saturday as they jumped on the Poets early, posting an 8-0 lead through the first seven innings.
The Poets began to rally in the last two innings, scoring five runs, but the Leopards managed to hold onto the lead and take the victory.
Sophomore Kyle Johnson hit a home run and recorded three RBIs for the first place Leopards.
Senior infielder Ryan Holmes had a 4-for-5, two RBI performance.
Senior pitcher Scott Lindeen had four strikeouts in eight innings to add yet another victory to his resumé, improving his record to 8-2.
In last Thursday’s game against Occidental, the Leopards put a beating on the Tigers, defeating them 7-1, closing out a four-game season sweep of the SCIAC foe.
Bonilla completed a three RBI performance with his first home run of the season.
DuBarry remained consistent finishing with two doubles in the game.
Although the Leopards have a lot to be excited about, they have to stay focused.
“We’ve had a lot of momentum,” DuBarry said. “We look forward to the next game, not the next two or three.”
The Leopards still have two more games left in SCIAC play and must continue with strong performances in order to reclaim the SCIAC championship.
“We have to win out,” DuBarry said. “Our team needs to stay focused on playing our game.
Winterburn stressed the regular season is not yet over, and games still need to be played.
“We haven’t taken anything yet,” Winterburn said. “We need to continue to play our style of baseball if we expect to win.”
The Leopards will return to action this weekend facing Redlands at 3 p.m. today at La Verne and Cal Lutheran at 1 p.m. on Sunday at home.
Adrian Medrano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.