At the end of Friday’s game between La Verne and Whittier, a team rushed the field for the second week in a row.
This time it was the Poets who charged onto the field of Mt. SAC’s Mazmanian Field after their 4-0 victory over the Leopards, highlighted by Poet senior pitcher Ryan Schwenn’s no-hitter performance.
“That was the best pitching performance I have ever seen in the SCIAC,” head coach Scott Winterburn said.
Whittier’s offense got going early as they took a 1-0 advantage after the first inning on one hit.
Poet senior left fielder Andrew Vallejo led off the game with a triple before being sent home two batters later on an RBI ground out.
From there Schwenn took control of the game, only allowing one base runner throughout the game on a walk earned by junior first baseman Michael Stewart in the second inning.
“Honestly, tonight was the first night where everything was there,” Schwenn said. “I didn’t try to do too much. I got in a groove in the first inning and tried to stay with it.”
The Poets tacked on two additional runs in the top of the fifth inning.
The Leopards saw their best chance to make a comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning when sophomore shortstop George Hanna hit a ball hard to deep center field.
Whittier’s center fielder Tyler Bogart sprinted back to the wall and made the catch, which was the key play of the game in Winterburn’s eyes.
Senior center fielder Jacob Ludvik followed Hanna with a ball hit hard right at the Poet third baseman, but it was collected for the out to keep the no-hitter alive.
“It was one of those games where everything goes bad and keeps going bad,” Ludvik said.
The Poets added another run in the top of the eighth inning to reach the 4-0 score.
Schwenn earned the no-hitter in an efficient manner. He threw only 95 pitches, 60 of them for strikes, threw two consecutive balls only twice from the third to ninth innings, and earned four strikeouts.
“He made our guys miss by a little all night,” Winterburn said. “Our guys were not having bad ABs tonight.”
La Verne sophomore pitcher Phil Schick had an impressive evening on the mound himself, stretching his start across eight innings.
Schick finished with two earned runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.
“Phil Schick pitched great,” Winterburn said. “He gave up one (run) in the first on a misplayed ball in left field and went into the eighth. He gave us a real, real good start.”
Senior Alan Heide relieved Schick in the final inning, only allowing one hit.
“I felt pretty good, I tried to keep the team in it,” Schick said. “Jason (Moralez) called a great game back there, and all I had to do is hit the spots.”
“You have to tip your cap to their pitcher,” Winterburn said. “The defense made plays tonight, they got clutch hits, they earned it.”
La Verne took game two of the series, 4-3, Saturday. The Leopards won the final game 8-4 and now hold a 19-10 overall record and a 14-4 SCIAC record, good for a first place tie with Cal Lutheran.
La Verne opens an important weekend series at 3 p.m. today at Cal Lutheran. They will complete the series at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow at Mt. SAC.
Daniel Hargis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.