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Leopards fail to slide into SCIAC postseason

Julian Mininsohn
Staff Writer

The baseball team suffered a tough 5-4 loss to Pomona-Pitzer Sunday at Alumni Field in Claremont.

The Leopards then ended their season Tuesday with an 11 inning win against the Poets at Whittier, 4-3.

Despite the win La Verne fell short of qualifying for the Southern California Inter­collegiate Athletic Conference post season tournament.

On Sunday, the Sagehens grabbed a first inning lead and never looked back as the deficit was too insurmountable for the Leopards.

“It was the missed opportunities,” freshman second baseman Michael Reyes said. “We just didn’t play our game.”

Sophomore first baseman Jake Bruml and senior outfielder Nick Gentili led the offensive attack for the Sagehens.

In the first inning, Bruml hit an RBI double followed by a Gentili RBI single to help the Sagehens to an early 2-0 lead.

Bruml went 2-5 with one RBI and Gentili went 3-5 with two RBIs. Senior outfielder Erik Munzer went 5-5 with two RBIs for Pomona-Pitzer as well.

The Sagehens finished the game with 15 hits.

Sophomore Leopard Sean Beckman pitched 2.1 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits in the losing effort. He suffered his third loss of the season.

Freshman Brett Early was a bright spot on the mound for the Leopards, pitching 4.2 innings of scoreless relief.

“All the coaches told me to compete for the team,” Early said. “I had my fastball, slider, and the occasional curveball working for me.”

“He was a tough pitcher all the way through,” senior catcher Jason Moralez said.

Trailing 5-1 in the sixth inning, the Leopards received a pair of RBI singles from junior outfielder Josh Surdo and sophomore outfielder Jared Hovsepian to cut the lead to 5-3.

After a bases loaded walk with one out in the eighth inning, the Leopards cut the lead to 5-4.

Junior infielder Nicholas Bergara hit a fielder’s choice groundout to second, but was called out at first after running in the path of the first baseman. The interference call ended the inning and the comeback rally for the Leopards.

“We have to take good swings with runners in scoring position and not back down,” Moralez said. “That’s what it all comes down to, that’s how you win games.”

Surdo and Hovsepian led the offensive attack for the Leopards. Surdo went 1-2 with a walk and an RBI. Hovsepian went 1-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Senior infielder Mason Stoltenberg went 2-5 from the plate in the losing effort for La Verne as well.

In the 11th inning of Tuesday’s game with Whittier, Surdo came up with a runner on second and beat out an infield single to give the Leopards the win.

The Leopards finish the season in fifth place with a SCIAC record of 16-12 and 22-16 overall.

Julian Mininsohn can be reached at

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