Rodeo Jewelers Game of the Week: La Verne Little League Team (Briefly?) Enters Witness Protection Program

July 25, 2011
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District and Section Champion La Verne looks to regain its identity tonight at 5 p.m. against El Segundo.

District and Section Champion La Verne looks to regain its identity tonight at 5 p.m. against El Segundo.

Sometime between winning the Section III title and playing the first game of the North-sub division series, the La Verne Little League 12-year-old all-stars entered the government’s witness protection program because neither the fans nor coaches recognized the team that played Sunday afternoon at Cortez Park and lost 16-9 to Encino.

At one point, La Verne trailed 16-3 before mildly rallying for six runs in the bottom of the sixth, but the team’s performance was ugly and hopefully forgettable — a real clunker.

How bad was it? La Verne pitchers hit six Encino batters, including lead-off hitter Jack Scher three times, but it was Encino that put the hurt on a La Verne team that had been perfect in the post-season.

“The boys looked flat today,” said La Verne Manager Bob Spencer. “I can’t explain it. I wish I could. I’d like to say there were one or two things that accounted for the loss, but it was a multiple of things. We weren’t hitting, we weren’t getting the strikes when we needed the strikes (from our pitchers).”

For Encino, five was there lucky number. The team rolled three of them – on each in the second, third and sixth innings, and also scored a solo run in the fifth to total 16 runs for the game.  Only in the fourth did La Verne retire Encino in order.

In the second and third innings, Encino sent 10 batters to the plate. In the third, Seth Stone rocked a two-run homer and in the sixth Elijah West bombed a three-run blast, but mostly Encino did its damage like termites gnawing away at La Verne’s pitchers with fisted flairs and bloop hits sandwiched between lots of walks and hit batters.

The fifth inning would be typical of how things played out for La Verne. Encino scored one run, using two walks, a hit batter, a single and a wild pitch to do so. In their bright red jerseys, La Verne was playing Santa Claus the entire game, handing out unbelievable gifts that even Mrs. Claus didn’t know they had back in the workshop.

Slumbering La Verne was finally aroused in the bottom of the sixth, scoring six runs on five runs, a hit batter and a costly three-run error (kind of the way Encino had been doing it the entire game), but the rally proved far too little too late.

“I just hope we come back tomorrow strong,” Spencer said. “That’s what I’m looking for – a comeback, a rebound. That last inning helped us and brought a little morale back into the dugout.

“I believe in these guys. But I do believe that they’ll have to find it between now and tomorrow.”

Let’s hope the team’s stay in the witness protection program is a short one.

La Verne plays El Segundo at 5 p.m. at Cortez Park. With a win, they will remain in the tournament. With a loss, they’re out.

With the price of gold at an all-time high, why not sell your old unwanted gold rings, bracelets and other broken or discarded gold items to Rodeo Jewelers in La Verne. Located in the new Vons Shopping Center at 1560 Foothill. For more information, call (909) 593-7537. A Great Family Jewelry Store!

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