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Leopards hold off late Centenary comeback

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Senior pitcher Sean Holt starts on the mound for the Leopards in their matchup against the Centenary Gentlemen on Sunday. The Leopards held on for a narrow 9-7 win as they advanced to 5-1-1 in overall play. Their first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game begins on Friday against the Redlands Bulldogs. / photo by Jingyao Liang

Eric Esquibel
Staff Writer

The baseball team took two games from the visiting Centenary Gentlemen from Louisiana this week, including a close 9-7 win Sunday evening and a come-from-behind 12-8 victory Wednesday. The Leopards improved to 5-1-1 on the season as they await the opening of Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. 

“I thought we did well, it was a good team win. Our pitchers held us in there. We scored eight in the first two innings and didn’t score too much after that,” assistant head coach Mason Stoltenberg said. “We would obviously like our offense to help us out there more, those last seven innings. We did enough so we will take it.” 

At the top of the first inning Sunday, the Leopards allowed the Gentlemen three runs but were able to quickly answer back with five runs in the bottom of the first. 

Sophomore shortstop Anthony Salcedo led off with a single down to third base and shortly after stole second base. Brothers Tanner Siffert, junior first baseman, and Chase Siffert, sophomore second baseman, followed as both hit singles allowing Salcedo to score the first run.

“Our at bats could have been better, we were talking about it with our coaches and the players,” Salcedo said. “We have to make a few adjustments here and there, then I think we should be good.”

The hits continued from sophomore third baseman Cameron Slessor, who singled up the middle, and freshman left fielder Logan Reese, who singled to right field. The Leopards ended the first inning with six hits and five runs. 

The second inning, the Leopards kept busy scoring three more runs after hits from Slessor and junior catcher Christian Killian. Senior pitcher Sean Holt was able to leave Centenary hitless for the second and third inning. Holt recorded four strikeouts in his five innings against the Gentlemen. 

“I felt good (on the mound),” Holt said. “I didn’t feel as sharp as I would have liked to be but we were able to battle and get through nine innings to get our team the chance to win the game.” 

The next few innings were slow for both sides. The only run scored came from the Leopards when Slessor scored an unearned run in the fourth inning.

Then in the eighth inning, the Leopards allowed the Gentlemen to get six hits and score four runs. The Leopards then had a pitching change to deter a Centenary comeback. Junior pitcher Gerald Terry came in to hold the Gentleman back from taking the lead. 

In the final at bat for the Leopards, with Tanner Siffert on third base, Slessor struck out to prevent another Leopard run. Tanner Siffert ended the game with two runs on two hits. 

“I think (as a team) we are a lot tighter, because last year with COVID going on and we didn’t have practices or lifts under our belts,” Tanner Siffert said. “This year we are a lot closer, we have a stronger bond so I think that is a big thing this year.” 

In seven games the high-powered Leopards offense has scored 74 runs, and the team is currently 5-1-1 in the 2022 season. 

The Leopards will open conference play against the Redlands Bulldogs at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Ben Hines Field. The series will continue with a doubleheader at Redlands starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Eric Esquibel can be reached at eric.esquibel@laverne.edu.

Eric Esquibel, a senior broadcast journalism major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

Jingyao Liang, a junior business administration major and photography minor, is a staff photographer for the Campus Times.

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