Baseball team battles for the top

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Coach Jerry Bartow said he has been looking all season for a team that can play together. He may have finally found one.

The Gentlemen Jags took two of three against Grossmont College last week and moved into a tie with Mesa College for first in the Pacific Coast Conference rankings.

Games against Grossmont were particularly tense, and not just because the Griffins are SWC’s most intense rival. Grossmont is also one of the top teams in the League.

“They can basically beat anyone,” said first baseman Andres Enriquez. “If we beat them, we can get on top.”

The thrilling series began on Tuesday with a 12-6 win at Grossmont. SWC jumped out to the lead when Justin DiStefano hit a home run in the second inning with one on. The offense kept the bases filled and the runs falling in like dominos. Jags scored five more runs in both the third and the fifth innings.

Their fiery performance continued on Thursday when the Jags welcomed Grossmont to Jaguar Junction with another victory, 6-0.

Pitcher Kiki Medina completed the game with quick, clean innings, carving up Grossmont like a turkey. Outfielder Kenny Waines, who made a spectacular catch in the bottom of the ninth for the final out, said the team is playing better because of confidence at the plate.

“We’ve been hitting more as a team and bonding more as a team,” said Waines. “We’re becoming better friends. If you’re gelling outside, you’re gelling inside.”

Grossmont prevented a sweep in the final game on Friday, pulling out a 5-1 win over the Jags.

Pitchers Luciano Reynoso and Brandon Lozier put up a good effort, but continuous errors made by the defense, lack-luster at the batting plate and a terrible side-wind made the game a difficult and discouraging one.

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Third baseman Sammy Montalvan said he attributed the loss to overconfidence.

“We were caught off guard,” he said. “We thought it would be an easy game, but no.”

The loss broke the Jaguar’s five-game winning streak and put their games against Palomar College this week into perspective.

“If anything, it will make us better,” said Montalvan. “We’re not going to think we can win easily.”

The Jaguars have an 11-6 record and with eight games left in the season.

Despite their disappointing defeat, the club is well on their way to playoffs.

“We start off as teammates and we bond as friends,” said Waines. “Once we become one big family then, state championship, here we come!”

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