LA VERNE, Calif. — A baseball game doesn't usually end in a tale of two halves.
But it did on Tuesday, as Ithaca scored 12 unanswered runs through the first 4 1/2 innings against the La Verne baseball team before the Leopards outscored the Bombers 10-1 in the final half in a 13-10 win for the Bombers.
The La Verne pitching staff just could not locate the ball to start the game. The Leopards issued an astounding 13 walks through the first six innings. In the top of the fourth inning alone, the Bombers drew six walks and scored five runs without recording a hit to grab at 11-0 lead.
But the Leopards slowly chipped away at the deficit. Nikko Williams broke La Verne's scoring seal in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-out, bases-loaded single through the right side to plate two runs and Christopher Peres brought the lead down to a single digit with an RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth.
Ithaca added a run and took a 13-3 lead on a strikeout and a wild pitch in the top of the seventh. The Leopards failed to score in the bottom half of the inning but with the teams having agreed to play all nine innings prior to first pitch, the Leopards got another chance and almost completed the comeback.
The Leopards took advantage of three hit batters in the bottom of the eight to score five runs. Anthony Gonzalez led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly. Andrew Douglas pushed in a run with a bases-loaded walk and Williams came through a bases-clearing double to deep left field to bring the Leopards within 13-8.
Grant Thompson led off the bottom of the ninth with another hit by pitch, Isaiah Cruz drew a walk and pinch hitter Anthony Cisneros came up with a single up the middle the bring the Leopards within 13-9. Cruz scored on a fielder's choice to make it a three run game with just one out but the Leopards couldn't muster any more magic.
Williams went a perfect 5-for-5 with five RBI to lead La Verne's attack. Ashton Edior recorded two hits and Peres finished with five RBI.
Ithaca's Sam Little went 2-for-2 to go along with three bases on balls and scored four runs.
Cruz made his pitching debut and was flawless. He took over with two outs in the seventh inning and struck out all four batters he faced to keep the Leopards in the game.
The Leopards return to action tomorrow against Berry.