Kingsmen Baseball fall to Piedmont in season opener; lose series 2-1


Photo by Eric Klang - Reporter

The series loss against Piedmont marks the Kingsmen’s first opening series loss since February 2017, where they lost to La Verne 2-1.

Eric Klang, Reporter

The California Lutheran Kingsmen baseball team started their season with a 4-8 loss against the Piedmont Lions. This game on Thursday, Feb. 9 was the first of a three-game series against Piedmont, which the Kingsmen lost 2-1. 

Trouble for the Kingsmen began when the Lions managed to create a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The Kingsmen didn’t get a point on the board until the third inning when senior outfielder Sean Blandino made a run to home base.

“We still got some stuff to figure out, I just think we’ve got to play cleaner that’s all it is…there were some bright spots and some lows but I think I still have optimism for the season,” senior left-handed pitcher Bryan Tierney said.

Some of those “bright spots” came from the five Kingsmen who made multiple hits during the game. This included Blandino, senior infielder Zach Lafata, senior outfielder Max Heverly, junior infielder Ryan Farr and junior catcher Brendan Durfee.

“We just need to kind of aim for first base strikes and attacking the batters that we’re facing and then just try to lock everything down on defense, button down the stuff we need to button down, and just do the simple things right,” Blandino said.

The Kingsmen trailed for the entirety of the game. However, they came close to the visitors in the fifth inning with two runs by Blandino and Lafata that made their score within one point of the Lions’.

The score stayed at a standstill through the sixth inning but the Lions pushed ahead once more in the seventh inning, where they made four runs to extend their lead by 5 points, making the score 8-3 in their favor.

Despite their comeback efforts, the Kingsmen only managed to get one more run, which came in the ninth inning by Lafata.

Blandino stood out after hitting a double and a single and finding his way to home base twice for the Kingsmen.

However, cracks in the Kingsmen’s defense allowed the Lions to steal seven bases throughout the game.

“I think defensively we just tried to do too much a few times and created some errors where there didn’t need to be defensively, and so we just need to be under control and just make the routine play,” Assistant Coach Eric Scherer said.

Cal Lutheran and Piedmont accumulated a total of 12 hits each throughout the nine innings, but the Lions were able to convert their hits twice as often as the Kingsmen.

“On the mound, I think there were opportunities where we just didn’t put people away with two strikes…but offensively I think we did a good job…pitching and defense, definitely two areas that we need to improve on,” Scherer said.

Cal Lutheran had a chance to improve in the remaining games against Piedmont and was able to claim the victory with a score of 7-6 on Friday, Feb. 10 before losing the third and final game of the series on Saturday with a score of 9-12. 

“Our mantra is that the game’s not over until 27 outs, so we’re going to battle no matter what the outcome is, no matter what the score is, we’re going to battle every single inning like we have the lead and like we’re going to keep the lead,” Blandino said.

The Kingsmen’s next game will be at home against Whitworth University on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m.