The Cal Poly Pomona baseball team is closing in on the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title but the Broncos still must get past Cal State Northridge in a three-game series that starts Friday at Scolinos Field in Pomona.
After sweeping a crucial double-header from front-runner UC Riverside last week and defeating Chapman on Tuesday, the Broncos have a 17-9 record in CCAA play and are 29-20 overall. Riverside is 16-11 in conference and 28-23 overall.
In their final three regular-season games, the Broncos play host to Northridge at 2:30 p.m. Friday before visiting Northridge for a double-header at noon Saturday. Riverside concludes its conference season with a three-game series Friday and Saturday against visiting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Pomona, ranked No. 9 in NCAA Division II, will be trying for its first conference title since 1985. The Broncos also won CCAA titles in 1976, 1979, 1980 and 1983.
If the Broncos win their sixth title under longtime Coach John Scolinos, they may have to thank sophomore pitcher Wayne Koklys. The right-hander from Los Altos High in Hacienda Heights came through with a brilliant performance in Pomona's 11-2 and 8-1 victories over Riverside last week.
After pitching six innings to earn the win in the first game, Koklys came back to toss a complete game in the nightcap to leave a lasting impression on Scolinos.
"Let's face it, Koklys did a Superman job," Scolinos said. "It was a throwback to the old days when every now and then a guy would pitch both ends of a double-header, and he did it against a very good hitting team."
Koklys, who is 12-3 overall and 8-1 with a 2.65 earned-run average in conference play, shut down a Riverside squad that entered the double-header with a .310 batting average.
Scolinos was happy with the way the rest of the team played against Riverside. "That was one of the best performances in Cal Poly history," he said. "I was very proud of this ballclub."
That's saying a lot considering that Scolinos has coached for 41 years, the last 27 with the Broncos.
The Broncos have a .306 team batting average and eight players hitting above .300.
Leading the way are junior shortstop Dave Hajek, who has a .360 average, and junior catcher Chris Goldbach at .359. Other top hitters are sophomore outfielder Chris Butterfield at .335, senior second baseman Jim Chapman and junior third baseman Bill Beeman at .333, junior outfielder Brian Grier at .327, senior outfielder Todd Rolph at .307 and sophomore outfielder Max Hardy at .304.
Pomona has an outstanding 3.37 earned-run average. In addition to Koklys, two other pitching leaders are junior starter David Rice and senior reliever Dave Berry.
Having clinched second place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn., the Cal Poly Pomona women's softball team completes its regular season with nonconference double-headers against United States International University today and UCLA on Saturday.
The fifth-ranked Broncos, 50-13 overall and 28-8 in conference play, visit USIU at 1:30 p.m. today and play host to top-ranked UCLA at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Broncos have an 11-game winning streak and expect to make the Division I playoffs that start next week. The Bruins, who have clinched the Pacific 10 Conference title, are led by All-American pitcher Lisa Longaker with a 26-2 record and microscopic 0.16 earned-run average.
Pomona will match the Bruins with the pitching of junior Kris Rokosz, who is 19-3 with an 0.51 ERA, and freshman Nicky Luce, who is 23-7 with 11 shutouts.
"We're playing very well," Pomona Coach Carol Spanks said. "Through adversity we have pulled together as a team and that has been our real strength. We don't have a lot of individual standouts. It has been a team effort and it hasn't been easy."
The Broncos have been powered by senior first baseman Kandi Burke, who leads the team in home runs with four and runs batted in with 34. Shortstop Dana Ramos has the team's top batting average at .302, followed by catcher Denise Correa at .298, second baseman Alison Stowell at .285 and Rokosz at .282.
The Cal State Los Angeles baseball team has a slim chance to win the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. title, but the Golden Eagles will need a little help.
Cal State is tied for third with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo at 14-13 in conference play, three and a half games behind front-runner Cal Poly Pomona (17-9) and two behind second place UC Riverside (16-11). Cal State is 23-29 overall.
To have a chance at the title, Cal State needs to win its final three games against last place Cal State Dominguez Hills this week while Riverside and Pomona must lose their games.
The easier part of the equation for the Golden Eagles would appear to be their match-ups against Dominguez Hills, which is 9-18 in conference play and 17-27 overall. The teams met Wednesday night and also play at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Carson and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Cal State L.A. The Golden Eagles have defeated Dominguez Hills this season, 3-2 and 2-0.
Cal State L.A. has been led by the strong hitting of infielders Brad Mengel and Mica Lewis. Mengel is batting .352 and Lewis .343. Another standout is outfielder Loy McBride, who is hitting .330 with 7 home runs, 34 runs batted in and a team-high 30 stolen bases.
The team's top power hitter is outfielder Rex De La Nuez with 9 homers and 41 RBIs. The Golden Eagles also have a solid relief pitcher in Rod Windes, who is 2-1 with a 2.72 earned-run average and 8 saves.