by annie miller
Disappointing and inconsistent. Those were the first words that came to the minds of right-handed pitchers Tyler Garkow and Justin Lawrence when asked to describe the Sea Lions’ losing season.
PLNU currently sits in last place in the Golden State Athletic Conference with a 9-19 GSAC record, 17-28 overall. In its four remaining conference games, PLNU will have to beat out three other teams in order to be included in the GSAC Postseason Tournament.
Last weekend, the Sea Lions lost three out of four to Biola University (4-5, 6-10, 8-4, 4-8) in keeping with Lawrence’s theme of inconsistency.
“There have been times we’ve played great,” said Lawrence, a junior transfer from San Diego Mesa College, “but 28 times this year, we’ve found ways to lose.”
How exactly have the Sea Lions found ways to lose? For example, in the 45 games that the team has played, only five have been lost when there were no Sea Lion errors made. In those five games, they may have simply been outhit, outplayed or out-lucked. However, when making at least one error, the team’s record is 7-11. When making two or more errors, the record is 6-12. So, when blunders have been committed, 23 games have been lost. That’s a little more than 82 percent of the season’s total failures.
Of course, unless we go back and look at each game’s play by play, it cannot be accurately stated that those 64 errors directly contributed to losses, but they certainly hint at the possibility.
For those times they’ve played great, Lawrence has been right there. The 6-foot-1-inch 200-pounder is 5-3 on the year, surrendering 84 hits in 81.1 innings pitched and striking out 76 batters. The hurler is in the university record books after striking out 15 batters against Fresno Pacific University on March 29.
The disappointed Garkow is floating in a similar boat next to Lawrence. He has had a great year with nothing to show for it.
It’s safe to say that the junior transfer from Mt. San Antonio College is the Sea Lions’ designated tough-luck pitcher. The hurler is 4-8 on the year, despite tossing four complete games, striking out 54 batters in 82 1/3 innings pitched and being named both the GSAC and NAIA Pitcher of the Week.
That’s baseball, sadly. Sometimes even the hero will become the goat.
Despite all the disappointment and inconsistency, there is one player who said he’s optimistic.
Catcher Ricky Gingras is responsible for many runs and last-minute heroics this season. The team leader in batting average (.364) knocked in 35 runs on 52 hits, including seven home runs. The junior also recorded a team low in strikeouts, with just four. Just like Lawrence and Garkow, Gingras doesn’t quite get to reap what he has sown. So why does he say he’s optimistic?
“There are a lot of young guys who are only going to get better,” he said.
Indeed, there are 14 freshmen on this year’s squad, making up exactly half the roster.
Yes, the season was disappointing, and yes, it was inconsistent. But Gingras hit it right on the head. The team is young. With a couple years of experience, those things can change. The future is as optimistic and bright as ever.
The Sea Lions will take on Azusa Pacific University in their last GSAC series ever, as the team will transition to NCAA DII next year. The first double-header of the series will take place on Friday, April 27, at Carroll B. Land Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for noon.