La Verne 12s Respond Like a Champion, Defeat Glendora National 5-4

July 9, 2011
Share this story:
Kenji Henderson delivered late with two keys hits to put La Verne over the top.

Kenji Henderson delivered late with two keys hits to put La Verne over the top.

Like a stunned heavyweight champion felled by a rabbit punch, the La Verne 12-year-old All-Stars got off the mat and rallied with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning at College Park in Claremont to defeat Glendora National 5-4.

Chris Spencer got things started with a clutch single to right field. Nick Johnson nursed a walk to put runners on first and second. A.J. Woodall, La Verne’s starting pitcher who had pitched brilliantly surrendering just two hits to go with his eight strikeouts until he was pulled after 65 pitches, also singled to load the bases.

La Verne’s crowd was on its feet as Nick Peifer stepped to the plate. In the top half of the inning Peifer had come into pitch to get the final out against Glendora after Glendora had scored three runs to take a surprising 4-3 lead, putting La Verne on the canvas and looking up at the very real possibility of its first post-season loss. Peifer went down swinging.

Glendora was two outs away from pulling off the upset. Anthony Cascarano had other ideas, however, driving a hard single to the outfield to drive in Spencer and tie the game at 4-4, but the trailing runner Schneider was thrown out at home plate. With two outs, Kenji Henderson, who had staked La Verne to a 2-1 lead in the fifth after striking out twice earlier, approached the plate. As cool as ever, he whistled a single to the outfield and La Verne started its celebration, a 5-4 winner over a tough and determined Glendora opponent.

“Nobody ever hung their head, I saw it as a team win,” said La Verne Bob Spencer. “We learned a lot tonight. We talked about taking these lessons to the next game. You’re not always going to get those big wins. Sometimes, you get these type games. We’ve been talking about second chances, and that’s exactly what we got tonight.”

While there was late offensive thunder for both teams, the early part of the game was dominated by pitching and defense. The game started as a pitching duel between La Verne’s left-handed ace Woodall and Glendora National’s Jake Bickle.

In the top of the first, Andrew Montano pulled a Woodall fastball down the left field line for a home run to stake Glendora to an early 1-0 lead. Meanwhile, Bickle breezed through the first two innings, including striking out the side in the second.

In the bottom of the third, Woodall helped La Verne square accounts at 1-1 with deep home run blast over the centerfield fence.

It would stay tied until the bottom of the fifth. Glendora decided to pitch around Woodall and Cascarano, putting both hitters on base, and go after Henderson who had struck out twice. Henderson blew that strategy up when he lashed a line drive over the first baseman’s outstretched arm to give La Verne its first lead of the game 2-1. Nick Schneider followed with a fielder’s choice to score Cascarano. With the insurance run, it appeared La Verne was ready to wrap up a tidy 3-1 victory.

Glendora wasn’t done however. All night long, La Verne had no answer for Andrew Montano who singled down the third baseline. Troy Sutherland singled him home to help Glendora pull within a run, 3-2. Then James Nolan tomahawked a high fastball over the left field fence, a shocking turn of events giving Glendora a 4-3 lead and putting the team within three outs of pinning La Verne with the loss.

Then La Verne responded like a champion.

For more surprises, visit Rodeo Jewelers, where Koko can custom make any piece of jewelry for that special occasion. Rodeo Jewelers is located in the new Vons Shopping Center. Visit Rodeo Jewelers LVO ad for more information!

Leave a Reply