Southwestern College Jaguars may be playing their hearts out, but it is the arms that need to come around. Hitting thrills fans, pitching wins championships.
Left to a solid 6-3-1 start, the Gentlemen Jags say they are feeling confidant. Coach Jerry Bartow said he has a strong squad, but would like to see more consistency on the mound.
Freshman pitcher Brandon Lozier said the team plays very cohesively.
“We’re not a bunch of individuals,” he said. “We’re just straight-up like a team.”
Lozier said he believes if the team can play together in conference games they have a really good chance of winning. In order to prove they are Kings of the Jungle, the Jags have to beat out pretty tough competition. Orange Coast College and Cypress College are top on the hit list.
“Orange Coast is one of the tougher teams we’ll play all year,” said outfielder Andy Swan, a transfer student from South Mountain Community College.
Swan’s pre-game prediction came true as the SWC men battled for 14 innings. As the last of the sunlight faded from the field, the coaches called a draw and ended the game at 3-3.
With the non-league season games coming to a close, the Jags are gearing up for what is chalking up to be a competitive conference.
“We’ve beat some of the best teams here in California,” said Bartow. “We beat the number one team the other day in 10 innings, that was Cypress College. We’ve always been in the playoffs. Every last few years we’re somewhere in those playoffs.”
Bartow said he thinks the team has playoff ambitions, but needs more pitching.
“That’s 85 percent of the game, the pitching,” said Bartow. “If you don’t have it, you can’t win. That’s been our trouble the last few games, we haven’t had all our pitching together.”
Bartow said pre-season games are a good chance to see what plays are prepared and motivated.
“It takes a while in these games to find out who wants to play and who’s going to put in the time in to do it,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to find out. I’m hoping I can do that before the league opens next Tuesday.”
Bartow said he has most of the pieces of a promising team.
“Our defense is pretty good, we’ve got a nice infield,” said Bartow. “I think this club here could do it if we could find a couple more pitchers. I just got to find that guy on the mound. I’ve got to find him.”