La Verne falls to Cal Lutheran, 15-7, in season finale.
The baseball team ended its season with a 15-7 loss to Cal Lutheran on Saturday, and for nine seniors it would be the last time they put on the Leopard green and orange.
Mike Surina, Jon-Michael Hattabaugh, Tim Jolly, Victor Peinado, Kevin Ibbara, David Contreras, Mike Belcher, Dane Delfs and Austin Braunwalder stepped out onto the field one last time to the ovation of the crowd as they were honored with the senior celebrations.
“It’s nice to know that I’m a true Leo and that I have had an impact on the school,” Surina said.
Hattabaugh finished fourth all-time in runs scored and the all-time leader in doubles.
“Being able to hang out with the guys is what I’m going to miss,” Peinado said. “Before, during and after the games, just everyday at practice.”
“I’m pretty sad,” Contreras said. “To be doing something for so long and it comes to an end in one day.”
Losing their final game is not way the seniors wanted to go out, but the Kingsmen offense proved to be too much for the Leopards.
Cal Lutheran scored in the first inning off of a wild pitch and they would add four more in the top of the second as pitcher Matt Baudino walked a batter with the bases loaded.
In two innings Baudino gave up six hits and walked four batters. In the top of third inning the Leopards let the game get away from them, as Jolly gave up five runs off of three hits, giving the Kingsmen a 10-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Peinado hit a solo home run to right field and in the bottom half of the seventh the Leopards showed some life.
Belcher hit a double to right field and junior Mark Larini brought him in to score with a double of his own. Later in the inning, Peinado would come up to bat with a man on a base and hit two-run home run to right field, making the score 13-7.
“[I was] looking for a pitch in my zone,” Peinado said. “I wanted to give the crowd one last tape-measure shot.”
Peinado finished his last game going 4-for-5, with four RBIs.
That would be all the offense La Verne would get, as the Kingsmen would add two more runs in the top of the ninth.
The Leopards finished the season tied for fourth in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with an overall record of 22-18.
However, the loss will not be what the seniors remember from their experiences at La Verne.
“Any loss is disappointing, but once the game was over I wasn’t upset about the loss, just that everything came to an end,” Contreras said.
“I love to play this game,” Surina said. “It’s the reason I came to the University of La Verne. I just love baseball.”
Elsie Ramos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.