Morgan Smith and La Verne Order up Big Game, Defeating Glendora American 7-2

June 23, 2017
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Morgan Smith’s two-run bomb in the top of the third set a winning table for La Verne all night long.

GLENDORA, Calif., June 23, 2017 — La Verne catcher Morgan Smith, according to consensus opinion, including his own, had the best game of his young life in helping his teammates defeat a tough Glendora American squad, 7-2, on Friday night in Glendora.


With the score deadlocked in the top of third, 0-0, Smith blasted a mammoth two-run home run with Justin Santiago aboard to put visiting La Verne up 2-0 over the Glendora Americans.


In the top of the fifth, it was that man Smith again driving in Santiago with a double. Santiago had led off the inning with a sharp single. In the same inning, Smith would come around and score on a wild pitch to give La Verne a 4-2 lead. In the top of the sixth, he doubled again and scored on sizzling single by Matt Bustos. On the night Smith, went 3-for-3 with a walk, three RBIs and three runs scored.


“I’ve been watching Morgan play for eight years, and the game he played tonight might have been his best,” La Verne manager Mark Smith said. “He played a heckuva game.”


He didn’t get any argument from Morgan.


“Have you ever had a game like the one you turned out tonight?” he was asked shortly after the game’s conclusion.


“Nope, never,” Morgan said.


“What did you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner?” we queried the young man, hoping to find the formula for his diamond success.


“Scrambled eggs for breakfast, pancakes for lunch, and I haven’t had dinner yet,” he rattled off, the same way he was calling pitches to his battery mates throughtout the game.


Tip to mom and dad: If you care about this game and care about La Verne baseball, buy Morgan a breakfast burrito for dinner.


Smith’s two-run shot drove in an elated Justin Santiago.

As great a game as Morgan played, he certainly would be the first to credit La Verne’s victory as a team effort.


There was La Verne pitcher Matt Bustos and his blazing fastball striking out the side in the first two innings and pitching shutout ball for three innings before he ran out of gas on a hot, dry and dusty field in the fourth inning.


There was Tristan Rambaud entering the fourth-inning pressure cooker in relief of Bustos with the bases juiced before shutting the door on the Glendora rally. Despite seeing one of his pitches hit home plate and carom over the backstop,  allowing a run to score, he was able to stop the rising Glendora tide.


Asked how he was able to handle the pressure-packed situation, he replied, “I just like to take a deep breath and keep my cool.”

That he did, and he even added a single and came around to score in the top of the sixth to  extend La Verne’s lead, 6-2.


Smith’s heroics also met with the thunderous approval of the La Verne faithful.

There also was the hustle of Seth Wrightstone, who never stopped running with two outs from first on what looked like a fly ball out to right off the bat of Gabe Hibbard in the top of the fifth. Glendora had just tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth, so every run was precious. When the ball popped out of the fielder’s glove, there was Wrightstone standing at home plate with another run. He was playing heads-up, team-first baseball!


There was Nolan Smith closing out the game for La Verne. It was also Nolan who cracked the first hit for La Verne in the top of the second. His hit was big because Glendora had recorded its first five outs all via the strikeout.


La Verne’s defense was also solid, showing that the boys in green have all the tools and talents to go deep in the tournament.


“We have a very balanced team, it’s a team that can hit and pitch a little bit,” Manager Smith said.. “We’ve got defense, so any time you have all three of those, you are going to be competitive.”


The win was sweet for another reason. It was Glendora American that knocked La Verne out of the all-star tournament a year ago, but Smith isn’t gloating based on one night’s performance.


“That’s a great team over there, and I expect that we’ll be playing them again,” Smith said.


But tomorrow, June 24, La Verne will be focusing on a new but not altogether unfamiliar rival in San Dimas, the city right next door. The game is set for 1 p.m. on what is expected to be another scorching, mercury-busting day.


“That’s another great team, so we won’t be taking them lightly,” Smith said. “We’ll be throwing everything we’ve got at them.”


Manager Smith should also ask Morgan what he’ll be having for breakfast and lunch and order it up for the whole team.

Coverage provided by longtime La Verne Realtor Colleen Bennett, Sotheby’s, 909.374.4744

The La Verne all-stars were told in no uncertain terms that they had two hours to enjoy the win before they had to start focusing on their next game in less than 24 hours.

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