up West Coast Super Regional title
Calif. – If there were any lingering doubts
about the health of Lewis-Clark State
College senior first baseman/designated
hitter Ikaika Lester (photo), they are gone
Lester drove in
six runs and Brad Schwarzenbach temporarily
quieted the Azusa Pacific bats long enough
for the Warriors to capture the NAIA’s West
Coast Super Regional title with a 15-11 win
over the Cougars on Friday night. The win
gives the Warriors a 2-1 victory in the
best-of-three series matching the NAIA’s two
defending Series champion, has been ranked
No. 1 all season and improves to 53-5 with
the win, while
Azusa Pacific, ranked No. 2 since late
March, is 50-8 overall.
Both teams now
head to the 51st annual Avista NAIA World
Series, which opens next Friday in Lewiston.
The Warriors, by being the host team, were
already assured an automatic berth into the
tournament but can’t be seeded higher than
third. APU is one of three at-large teams to
earn a spot along with the seven Super
The 10 teams
for the tournament also include St. Thomas
of Florida, Spring Arbor of Michigan,
Cumberland and Lee, both of Tennessee,
Bellevue of Nebraska, Houston Baptist of
Texas, Lindenwood of Missouri, and Walsh of
Ohio. Seeding and pairings for the
double-elimination tournament will be
announced on Sunday.
who may be the top seed in the Series, gave
LCSC fits in the series by scoring the most
runs the Warriors allowed this season in
each of the first two games. LCSC won the
first game 14-11, but APU rolled 16-5 in
also was a slugfest, early for LCSC, and
then late for APU. The Warriors scored four
runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings,
and added three in the sixth for a 15-3
lead, which at the time seemed
insurmountable. APU scored the final eight
runs of the game, collecting nine of its 17
hits in the final four innings.
Mike Miller on Friday, but he gave up seven
hits and three runs in just 1.2 innings.
Schwarzenbach came in and allowed only one
hit until the bottom of the sixth when a
single and a walk set up a three-run home
run by Brice Cutspec. APU added another
three runs in the seventh to make it 15-9,
and a two-run home run in the ninth made the
(pictured left) went 5.1 innings and allowed
six hits and six runs, but only three were
earned. He walked one and struck out seven.
Brian Parker pitched the final two innings
and despite allowing the ninth-inning home
run, he picked up his ninth save, which sets
a school record for most saves in a season.
Mark Wooden held the old mark with eight
during the 1986 season.
nearly half of the season, including most of
the last month with an injury. His status
going into last week’s regional tournament
was questionable, but he responded.
Cougars, Lester had a monster series. In
Friday’s game, he went 2-for-5 with six RBI
and a run scored. Besides the three-run home
run in the first, he added a two-run double
in the fourth and a sacrifice RBI in the
fifth. For the series, Lester went 9-of-15
with 10 RBI and three runs scored. He hit
two home runs and a double.
APU managed to
keep the game close early, trailing only
4-3. In the top of the fourth, a hit batter,
a single and a walk loaded the bases with
one out. Brent Wyatt hit a two-run single,
and after Mills was intentionally walked to
re-load the bases, Lester singled in two
LCSC made it
12-3 in the fifth when Jessie Mier hit a
solo home run to start the inning. A
grounder that turned into an error allowed
two runs to score, while the final run came
in on Lester’s sacrifice fly.
In the Warrior
sixth, two hit batters and a single loaded
the bases for Mark Thompson’s two-run
single. Zach Evangelho also singled in a
the game with 16 hits. Wyatt and Thompson
finished with three hits apiece.
gave up 38 runs in the three contests as APU
scored double digits in every game. Prior to
the series, the most runs scored against
LCSC this season was nine.