LA VERNE LITTLE LEAGUE: Joltin’ Joe DeFina Helps Launch La Verne to 13-0 Victory!

July 1, 2012
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La Verne huddles after defeating Glendora National 13-0.

La Verne huddles after defeating Glendora National 13-0.

Move over Joe DiMaggio. There’s a new Joltin’ Joe in town.

Yes, you may have hit in 56 straight games back in 1941 to propel you to win the MVP trophy over your nemesis Ted Williams, who hit .406 that same year, but did you ever hit five home runs in six at bats in all-star competition, which La Verne’s Joe DeFina has done in his last two games in District 20 Little League action at Marchant Park.

Picking up where he left off on Friday night, when he clubbed three home runs in his last three at-bats, DeFina smashed a two-run homer in his first plate appearance, which would be all La Verne would need to go on to defeat Glendora National 13-0.

DeFina singled in another run in the second before launching another two-run homer in the third inning. Combining Friday’s and Saturday’s totals, DeFina went 7-for-7 with 5 home runs and 11 RBIs in just eight innings of play.

“He’s a fantastic hitter,” La Verne manager Paul Stanhouse said after the game. “But I think the key for Joe is, and what has made him better, is he realizes that it’s not all relying on him. He realizes it’s really about La Verne, and it’s really relaxed him and allowed him to show his best stuff. I think when he feels he has to carry a team, that’s a lot of weight for a 12-year-old to carry. He doesn’t have to do that with this team.”

Case in point, Randy Fertig continues to come off the bench and get key hits for La Verne, including an RBI single in the top of the third. He has become the equivalent of the NBA’s sixth man who comes off the bench to ignite his team.

“For a kid like Fertig to come out here and do whatever I ask him to do and then to be successful, that’s what it’s all about,” Stonehouse added.

Up and down the La Verne line-up there are more Fertigs, who always seem to come through when the team needs a key play.

For example on Saturday, Johnny Martinez, another home run threat, was unselfish, taking two walks and singling in his three at bats. Catcher Luke Russell blasted a double and three-run home to help put Saturday’s contest out of reach. Jared Serrano singled. Ben Wolfe laid down a great sacrifice. Ryan Stonehouse sparkled at shortstop, making a great play in the bottom of the third and then another in the fourth, turning a double play to end the game.

La Verne is in the zone.

“We’re hitting the ball right now, that’s what it’s come down to,” manager Stonehouse said. “We knew we had a strong defense, we knew we had the pitching to get through the games.”

La Verne’s opening loss against Glendora National was a bump in the road that now appears smaller in the rear view mirror.

“The players are ready for the championship game. They don’t want to do anything different now. They just want to come out and play their game and let it go.”

La Verne fans will be letting it go for sure on Monday at 5:30 p.m., yelling not only, “Let’s go, Joe!” but also “Let’s go, La Verne!”

Before or after the game, head over to Cost + Mattress in La Verne for great 4th of July specials.  Up to 20% savings on their already low prices! And don’t miss their open house, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 12!

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