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Cal Lutheran Charges Into World Series

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Cal Lutheran’s baseball team looked every bit the top team in Division III when it swept Redlands in the NCAA West Regional last weekend.

The Kingsmen (32-7), who have been ranked No. 1 since the first week of the season, defeated Redlands by a combined score of 37-4 in the three playoff games.

They are in Battle Creek, Mich., for the World Series at Albion College. The eight-team, double-elimination tournament starts Thursday and ends Tuesday.

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Cal Lutheran reached last year’s World Series championship game and lost to William Paterson College of New Jersey, 3-1, on a three-run homer during the top of the ninth inning.

The Kingsmen can be reminded of that game by looking at their wrists. They received “We Were No. 2 in ‘92” wristwatches for finishing second.

“It’s not a situation where we want revenge for last year or anything,” Coach Rich Hill said. “We dealt with it a long time ago. It’s not something we think about. We want to win a national championship.”

Hill says the experience has helped the team’s concentration.

“This time I don’t think the guys are going to be taking pictures with Tony the Tiger and touring the Kellogg’s corn flakes plant,” Hill said. “They won’t want to go explore the town since they have been there. This year it’s going to be business as usual. This team isn’t as emotional (as last year’s). It’s not a rah-rah type of team.”

Another factor in Cal Lutheran’s favor is that the team has played particularly well in recent games.

“Those scores (23-2, 5-0, 9-2) we’re unexpected,” Hill said. “The layoff (between the regular season and the playoffs) helped. We had some guys heal a little bit, and our pitchers were rested.

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“Playing in the (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) helps prepare for the World Series--I think it’s the most improved conference I’ve seen. This year we could have lost many more games. We were in some dogfights.”

Cal Lutheran will play Ithaca (31-8) in the first round Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

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Add World Series: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s baseball team advanced to the Division II College World Series by defeating UC Davis in the West Regional championship game Sunday.

The eight-team, double-elimination tournament, will start Saturday at Montgomery, Ala.

The regional was a three-team, double-elimination tournament with Cal Poly Pomona also playing. Pomona (28-27) lost to both Davis and San Luis Obispo last Friday. Then Davis (43-14) and San Luis Obispo (36-18) split a doubleheader Saturday to force a game Sunday.

The Mustangs won, 6-1, behind Shannon Stephens, who struck out five and gave up seven hits. Rob Neal added three hits and two runs batted in.

Neal, who was voted most valuable player in the regional, had nine hits, six RBIs and scored five runs in the Mustang’s three games.

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Last Add World Series: Point Loma Nazarene’s baseball team is headed to the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series in Des Moines, Iowa, starting Saturday.

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The Crusaders, 38-17-1 and unranked in the final NAIA poll, were the surprise of the District 3 playoffs, sweeping a doubleheader from No. 5 Azusa Pacific for the district championship.

That advanced Point Loma Nazarene to the NAIA Far West Regional in Linfield, Ore., where the field included top-ranked Lewis-Clark State of Idaho, which had won six-consecutive titles, and 17th-ranked Hawaii-Pacific.

But Hawaii-Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene both upset Lewis-Clark State, eliminating the Warriors. Point Loma Nazarene defeated Hawaii-Pacific in the title game, 6-1.

Jason Hill pitched a four-hitter, Jimmy Escamilla hit a home run, and Brock Marsh and Greg Eidson each had two RBIs for the Crusaders.

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Cal Poly Pomona’s Steve Kobold and Oscar Mancisidor of the Cal Poly Pomona men’s tennis team won the NCAA Division II championship in the doubles competition last Thursday.

Kobold and Mancisidor defeated Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Mark Nielsen and Ricardo Reyes, 6-4, 6-2, at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmund, Okla.

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“I didn’t realize our doubles would be so good until about midway through the season,” Kobold said. “Then we won the Ojai tournament--that was big. So we knew we could do well at the NCAA tournament. We felt so good, so pumped up that we knew we were going to win.”

College Division Notes

La Verne’s softball team lost to two New Jersey schools, Trenton State, 1-0, and Rowan, 3-0, Friday and was eliminated from the Division III World Series at Decatur, Ill. . . . John Martin, baseball coach at Cal Baptist, has resigned to pursue other interests. Martin’s teams had a 99-93 record during his four seasons. The Lancers were 20-29 this season.

The SCIAC players of the year in spring sports: Debbie Boger of Pomona-Pitzer in women’s tennis, Ryan McKee of Claremont-Mudd in men’s tennis, pitcher Stacy Mays of La Verne in softball, outfielder Eric Johnson of Cal Lutheran in baseball and Ron Stockton of Redlands in golf. . . . In California Collegiate Athletic Assn. baseball, Chuck Belk of Cal Poly Pomona was voted coach of the year, Dan Chergey of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was voted pitcher of the year and catcher Steve Soliz of Cal State Los Angeles was voted player of the year. In CCAA softball, Kathy Welter of CCAA champion Cal State Bakersfield was voted coach of the year, Kristine Karr of Bakersfield was voted pitcher of the year and second baseman Christine Punches of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was voted player of the year. Karr and Punches were also voted to the National Softball Coaches Assn. All-Western Region first team along with Bakersfield shortstop Marilyn Carroll. . . . In NAIA District 3 baseball, pitcher Ryan Meredith of Southern California College was voted player of the year.

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