Sarah Van Buskirk
The baseball team continued to dominate in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play as they advanced their record to 9-1 after a mercy-ruled seven inning game against Caltech.
The first place Leopards outplayed the Beavers, 16-0, April 1 at Ben Hines Field.
Senior pitcher Sean Holt took the mound for the Leopards with a record of 7-1 and a 1.91 ERA. Holt controlled the Beavers’ offense, pitching comfortably for six innings and only allowing three hits.
“The way our offense is going makes me feel like I could give up a lot of runs and still have a chance to win the game,” Holt said. “They have definitely made it easy on me and the rest of the pitchers.”
With a quick first inning for the Beavers, the Leopards put early pressure on Caltech’s pitching.
The Beavers made five errors in the game, their first one allowing the Leopards to jump on a lead. Sophomore shortstop Anthony Salcedo made his way home after a throwing error by Caltech senior catcher Dalton Beulter.
Continuing the momentum, junior right fielder Brandon Shiota hit an RBI double to bring sophomore infielder Chase Siffert home. The Leopards led 2-0.
“We know Caltech. We’ve played them before so we try to treat them like any other opponent,” Shiota said. “If we think we are better and start to slack off they can easily take the game away from us.”
The Leopards’ final run in the inning came from freshman left fielder Logan Reese, who hit a sacrifice fly to bring junior first baseman Tanner Siffert home, making it 3-0.
A 1-2-3 inning for Holt sent the Leopards back to the plate to more than double their lead.
Another error by the Beavers allowed Salcedo to reach first and send sophomore third baseman Cameron Slessor home.
The bases were loaded and Tanner Siffert hit an RBI single to bring in junior center fielder Drew Reddick, who was on third.
The runs continued to add up on the scoreboard when a wild pitch by Beavers senior pitcher Pierce Governale allowed Salcedo to find home plate.
Caltech then called for the bullpen in their first pitching change, bringing in sophomore Kyle Reese.
The final run for the inning came from freshman designated hitter Malachi Francois, who hit an RBI single through the center which sent Tanner Siffert to home plate. The Leopards led 7-0 going into the third inning.
Holt remained on top of his game and quickly directed the Beavers back to their dugout. The bottom of the third inning was the Leopards’ biggest offensive explosion of the game, putting up five runs. That prompted the Beavers to send in another reliever to the mound, junior Arya Mevada.
In yet another bases loaded situation, Salcedo hit an RBI single which brought Reese home. Back to back RBI singles by brothers Chase and Tanner Siffert racked in another two runs.
“This weekend was a pretty good confidence booster,” Chase Siffert said. “How we played defense, offense, pitching and as a whole was great and we hope to carry it on to next weekend.”
The Leopards led 10-0, but they were not done quite yet. Shiota hit a two RBI single into the gap in center right field and left the inning leading 12-0.
Holt threw an additional 1-2-3 inning and it was the Leopards turn to bat once again.
The bottom of the fifth inning was a less offensively active inning for the Leopards however they still managed to put another run on the board. Sophomore pinch hitter Manuel Munoz hit into a double play but sophomore designated hitter Matthew Diaz, picking up for Francois, still scored. The Leopards extended their lead to 15-0.
The top of the sixth inning was like the others for the Beavers as they gave up another 1-2-3 inning.
The Leopards final run came in the bottom of the sixth inning when Shiota hit an RBI double to the warning track to send junior first baseman John Bike home, which made the score 16-0.
The top of the seventh inning was the Beavers’ final chance to put a run on the board. Freshman pitcher Ethan Galindo relieved Holt at the mound to close out the game. The Beavers could not capitalize and lost, 16-0.
The series continued with a doubleheader Saturday in Pasadena and featured two more mercy rule shortened wins for the Leopards, 12-0 and 13-2.
“We will have a good week of practice in preparation for Cal Lutheran,” Reddick said. “They are one of the top teams in the SCIAC and hard to beat so if we can hold each other to the standard we play we will be just fine.”
La Verne’s record now stands at 19-4-1 overall and 11-1 in SCIAC play. They will face Cal Lutheran this weekend, traveling on Friday then hosting for the doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ben Hines Field.
Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.