Thanks to a strong effort both on the mound and in the batter’s box, the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens baseball team, ranked first nationally, capped off one of their greatest seasons ever by winning the SCIAC title against No. 16 California Lutheran University with an 8-5 victory.
Despite collecting just two hits in the game, Drew Hedman PO ’09 made the most of them by opening up the scoring with an RBI single in the first and blasting a three-run homerun to right field in the fifth inning, giving the Sagehens a 6-2 lead and what turned out to be the winning run.
The Sagehens started the game with a 2-1 lead through the bottom of the fourth, but Sagehen starter James Brunswick PO ’10 let up a run to Cal Lu to tie the game up. Although he was touched for four runs, Brunswick still pitched 6-2/3 effective innings, throwing his stellar fastball while mixing in his constantly improving curveball to keep the Kingsmen honest.
After coughing up the lead, the Sagehens came right back in the fifth. Huerta hit a RBI double to score Mike Silva PI ’08, and after a walk to James Kang PI ’10, Hedman came up to make the most important hit of the game.
The Sagehens added two more runs in the eighth, as Teddy Bingham PO ’11 knocked in Nick Frederick PO ’10 on a sharply hit ball to right field. Andrew Nino PO ’09 followed up Bingham’s hit with a single of his own, adding an RBI to the two he collected in Friday’s game.
Cal Lu threatened to tie the game twice, but each time the Sagehen pitchers put out the fire quickly. A home run and triple in the seventh knocked Brunswick out of the game, and with the score 6-4 with a runner on second and Paul Hartmann, the Kingsmen’s best hitter, at the plate, Leo Rosetti PO ’12 came in to get Hartmann to fly out to center on a great play by Zach Mandelblatt PO ’09.
In the ninth inning, Cal Lu started off by putting runners at the corner on Rosetti’s throwing error. After already having pitched in Friday’s game, manager Frank Pericolosi wanted to protect the first-year’s arm and brought in Kang to close out the game. Kang answered the call and did his job well. Despite giving up a run-scoring double, Kang also got Cal Lu to hit into a double play on a soft liner to Huerta, who threw it over to Hedman to double up the runner. With the score 8-5, Hartmann again stepped up to the plate with two outs, and again the Sagehens shut him down. After Hartmann’s weak grounder to Kang, the Sagehens celebrated with the league title in the bag.
However, there’s still four more games left in SCIAC play, and it will take four more wins for the Sagehens to finish with a perfect conference season. Stay tuned for the second game of the doubleheader.