Kingsmen Claim Tournament Title
CLU punches NCAA playoff ticket
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Cal Lutheran has punched a ticket to the NCAA Division III Playoffs after defeating Pomona-Pitzer 10-6 in the Inaugural Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Baseball Post Season Tournament that was hosted at George “Sparky” Anderson Field in Ullman Stadium from May 3-5.
America Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) No. 8 Cal Lutheran won the regular SCIAC season with a 24-4 record and swept through the Post Season Tournament with wins over Occidental, Redlands and Pomona-Pitzer to end their home schedule with a dog pile between the pitcher’s mound and first base line.
The hard work and dedication that each and every player and coach has exhibited this year and in prior years past has paid off, but this is just one more check on the Cal Lutheran “To Do List.” The excitement in the stadium following the final out went well beyond the players and coaches to the fans and loyal supporters of the program.
Today was another total team effort in which the Kingsmen scored 10 runs on 10 hits with some help from the Pomona-Pitzer pitching staff that was inconsistent and struggled to find the strike zone all day. CLU earned seven walks and four batters were hit by pitches.
As they have done all season and throughout their careers, the senior class led the charge for CLU today. First baseman Nick Boggan launched a two-run homerun in the bottom of the fourth inning, to cap off a five-run frame, pushing the Kingsmen lead to 8-2. It turned into the ultimate game-winning hit after PP scored two in the ninth. Boggan and classmate Trevor Koons was 2-for-5 as well with two RBIs, also scoring twice and Mike Vinyard drove in a pair of runs and scored once.
Taking the hill for the Violet and Gold was Scott Peters (8-0) who remains undefeated in 2013 following a 6.0 inning performance in which he scattered seven hits and allowed four runs, three earned, while striking out five. Morgan Garcia-Grisham came in from the bullpen in the seventh and struck out two, but had trouble hitting his spots. Aaron Roth entered the game with a runner on base and nobody out in the ninth for his tenth save of the year. “Rubber arm Roth,” as referred to by teammates, hit the first batter he faced, but went on to force an infield fly, a fielder’s choice and finished it fittingly with a strike out, sending the bench into a frenzy and the crowd, already on its feet, to an elevated level of celebration.
Pomona-Pitzer scored first in the top of the second inning with a leadoff single from Erik Munzer, a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Madden and a two-out RBI-single to centerfield from Jackson Badger.
Not to be outdone, Cal Lutheran posted a three-run second as the Kingsmen took advantage of erratic pitching, drawing a pair of walks to lead the inning off. Nick DeLorenzo stole third base and came in to score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Vinyard for the first CLU run of the game. Spencer DuBois also walked, forcing starting pitcher Robert Weller from the hill. Jake Petersen went on to line a two-RBI double to left field to take a 3-1 advantage and control of the game.
The lead was cut to one in the third after Nick Gentili drove in Mike Moyer, who was hit by a pitch, with a single to score a run.
In the fourth, CLU sent 10 men to the plate to score five runs and open up the game. Though the first two batters were retired, the Kingsmen dug down like they have done all season and produced in the clutch. Garrett Smith reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. Petersen and Nicho DellaValle were hit by pitches in back-to-back at-bats and Koons laced a two-RBI single to the left side scoring both players as DellaValle dove into home, eluding a tag at the plate. Boggan then connected for his twelfth homerun of the season for two more runs.
The Kingsmen tacked two more on in the sixth as DellaValle and Koons led the inning off with back-to-back hits, a single and double, respectively. DeLorenzo drew a walk and Ramsey Abushahla was hit by a pitch to score one. Vinyard then recorded an RBI single for the final CLU run of the game.
PP would push another run across the plate in the seventh when Moyer scored on a sacrifice fly from Gentili, who had four of the six RBIs in the game for the Hens. In the ninth the senior right fielder finished his career off with a two-run homerun over the right field fence on an 0-2 pitch.
The Pomona-Pitzer offensive production from Gentili kept the Sagehens in the game as he went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and a run. EJ Lopez had three hits and scored once and Munzer was the only other player with a multi-hit game.
Weller (1-3) was tagged with the loss after lasting just 1.1 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, and walking four. CLU scored five runs off Drew Helgren and two off Mark Okuma.
Though he was only 1-for-2, DuBois reached base four times. He bunted for a base hit with one out in the bottom of the fourth and reached on a fielder’s choice while walking twice. DeLorenzo walked three times today. Both DellaValle and Petersen reached base a trio of times with a combined three hit by pitches and a walk to score three times.
The leather shined on both sides today. Vinyard made a diving catch in right centerfield in the third inning for the Kingsmen. PP left fielder Moyer made a phenomenal diving catch in the CLU bullpen for the first out of the bottom of the third. He made another great catch in foul ground for the second out of the frame.
Pomona-Pitzer played errorless baseball with Sam Fox recording seven outs at shortstop with four putouts and three assists. Moyer and Jake Bruml had six putouts and an assist apiece. The Sagehens turned two double-plays with a pair of 5-4-3 situations.
For the Kingsmen, DuBois had eight putouts behind the plate and Boggan had seven at first base. At second base Smith had five putouts and an assist and DellaValle had five assists at the hot corner. Koons also had five touches with three putouts and two assists in his final home game at shortstop inside Ullman Stadium.
Roth played a key role in all three victories and took the ball in his fourth consecutive game today. He totaled 6.1 innings in relief this weekend and did not allow a run while striking out nine.
Cal Lutheran (34-7-1) won the tenth SCIAC title in school history and the first since 2001. The Kingsmen claimed the Inaugural SCIAC Baseball Post Season Tournament title and now knows that CLU will be one of 56 teams announced when the selection show takes place as this weekend served as the automatic qualification. Cal Lutheran last appeared in the Playoffs in 2009.
The official NCAA Division III Baseball Playoff bracket is scheduled to be released on Sunday, May 12. The Kingsmen will travel to Concordia University Texas for the West Regional, one of eight regional sites.