Sluggers hope battery improves rocky start

by Bridget M. Rohrer
Staff Writer

With the major league baseball strike still unresolved and keeping its place in the news, many fans believe there will be no baseball. However, that is not the case with the University of La Verne Leopards around. Fans of the game can still go to the ball park and enjoy “America’s pastime.” After finishing last season second in conference with a record of 15-6, they are optimistic about the season ahead.

“We’re an older team and I’m very optimistic about the season ahead,” said Coach Owen Wright.

Last season, the Leos finished just behind Cal Lutheran in conference. With starting pitchers J. D. Romero, Jerry Whitaker, Greg Vargas and Jeff Doen and catchers Terry Conklin and George Garcia, Wright feels their strengths reside in pitching and defense, allowing them to end the conference on top.

“I believe we have an offense, but this early in the season, it remains to be seen,” Wright said.

He noted that the results of the last three games haven’t proved completely positive. The opening game was against Azusa Pacific and the Leos lost 19-4. The second was a come from behind win against CSU Hayward, 5-4. However, they lost their most recent game against NAIA Division II team, Cal Baptist, 14-3.

In the conference the Leos play in, there are no practices held in the fall, nor any games played in January. Wright believes that may be one of the reasons the Leos lost two of their first three games.

It will be up to top returners like Jeff Polinsky, David Madrid and Brock Whobrey to work with newcomers, Ken Miller, Jake Ganajian, Ryan Jourdain and Jason Wallace. The Leos will go head-to-head with Cal Lu three times this weekend. The Leopards will host Cal Lu today at 2:30, and will be at Cal Lu tomorrow for a double-header.

These games could be a stepping stone to the Leos season.

“These will be good games [this weekend]. Cal Lu is our toughest opponent,” said Wright.

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