Harbor, on Top Again, Shows No Complacency

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Harbor College beat Mission on Thursday to clinch its fifth consecutive Southern California Athletic Conference baseball title, but that carried little significance when the teams met Friday at Valley College.

"Today was a new day," Mission starter Nick Lymberopoulos said.

Lymberopoulos held Harbor scoreless for six innings, but the Seahawks overcame a three-run deficit with five runs in the seventh and went on to a 7-4 win.

"There was no letdown," Harbor Coach Jim O'Brien said of the Seahawks (38-5, 17-0 in conference play), who have won 28 consecutive conference games. "We're trying to win the state championship and we have got to win as many games as we can to get the top seed."

Mission's Chris Romo broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth on a bases-loaded double to give the Free Spirit a 3-0 lead.

Harbor exploded for five runs in the top of the next inning, sending 10 batters to the plate and collecting six hits. Three runs scored on back-to-back doubles by Marvin Menard and Matt Nuez.

"We had them down, but we couldn't hold them," Mission Coach John Klitsner said of Harbor, which has overcome a 3-0 deficit in three of the four games against the Free Spirit this season.

Mission cut the deficit to 5-4 in the eighth. Dain Turner singled, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice fly and scored on Robert Chavez's two-out double. Chavez stole third but was stranded when Romo grounded out to end the inning.

The Seahawks added two runs in the ninth on Erik Russell's pinch-hit home run to center off reliever Ted Ball.

With two conference games remaining, the Free Spirit (10-23-1, 12-6) remains in second place in the SCAC standings, one game ahead of East Los Angeles. The top two teams advance to the Southern California regional playoffs.

John Ingram (5-0) earned the win, allowing three runs and scattering four hits in seven innings.

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