The Leopards won 5-4 during the 10th inning and was victorious on their first game of the series against Occidental on Friday at Ben Hines Field.
The Leopards and Tigers had a close run during the first three innings of the game. Occidental developed an advantage over La Verne with three runs on four hits in the fourth inning.
Freshman second baseman Jacob Benson responded with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to bring the Leopards within one run.
Sophomore third baseman Christopher Peres’ sacrifice fly scored senior shortstop Andrew Douglas to tie the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I was really excited, because it was a big series for us and to come up on top in the first game was really crucial for us to build momentum,” Benson said.
Freshman pitcher Cody Norman came on in the 10th inning and pitched a scoreless inning against Occidental.
“It felt pretty good,” Norman said. “The player who was supposed to pitch that inning got hurt so it felt good to get him out of that inning without losing any rounds.”
Norman said he is excited about the rest of the season.
“We have a really good shot at the playoffs and to do a lot of good stuff this year,” Norman said.
Benson said that the team has grown a lot throughout the season but thinks there is still room for improvement.
“We just need to work hard and practice everyday,” Benson said. “I think we could have prepared better mentally and be focused on playing the game.”
Senior catcher Dylan Lowenstein scored the last hit of the game alongside sophomore leftfielder Brandon Vogel, which put La Verne up, 5-4.
“It was a pretty surreal feeling,” Lowenstein said. “It was fun because we both know that we played a pretty big part winning the game.”
Lowenstein finished 2-for-5 at the plate and said he is excited about the rest of the season.
“I felt like I played well on defense and helped the pitching staff accomplish their goals and giving us a chance to win,” Lowenstein said. “We are doing pretty well right now and playoffs are up for the taking.”
Lowenstein said he believes that the Leopards are one of the better teams in the conference and have the potential to succeed in it.
“There were points where really anybody could have won the game, but we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to come on top and walk away with a win,” Lowenstein said. “As long as we play up to our capabilities, we’ll be right up there at the top.”
The Leopards have an overall record of 14-11 and 8-2 in SCIAC play.
Shaikha Almawlani can be reached at email@example.com.