by David Sutton
Freshmen Sharnae Lancaster’s stellar pitching has become as routine for the women’s softball team as their hand-jive routine prior to each inning. Lancaster pitched her 17th and 18th games of the season last Friday, helping the Leos sweep Whittier College, 3-1 and 9-4 and improve their record to 15-3 overall and 12-2 in SCIAC.
Lancaster’s pitching shut down Whittier early on. In the second inning, two ground balls and a strikeout were all that Whittier got.
“The more she goes [during the game] the stronger she gets,” said Head Coach Julie Kline. Lancaster got the last batter to ground out and clinch the 3-1 victory.
In the third inning, Whittier had a chance to score when sophomore catcher Carmen Diaz overthrew second base and allowed the runner to advance to third. Lancaster then got her second strikeout of the inning for the third out.
ULV’s offense came to life in the bottom of the third when senior Melissa Trejo laced a single up the middle. After reaching third after errors on a bunt, freshman Elizabeth Lomeli scored off a double by sophomore Jenna Bowman. The Leos led 1-0.
Whittier sent three batters to the plate in the fourth inning and came up with the same results as in the third inning—nothing.
Offense was the key for the Leos in their half of the fourth. Freshman Amber Hall led off the inning with a ground out, but the next three batters sparked the Leos. Diaz reached base when a possible double play ball was mishandled by Whittier infielders.
Sophomore Stephanie Kiser moved over to second. Trejo loaded the bases when she hit a single off the third baseman’s glove. Lomeli then laid a bunt down the first base line that scored Kiser. The scoring ended after Diaz came home on a passed ball, increasing La Verne’s lead to 3-0.
Whittier’s only run came in the sixth inning when second baseman Beth Stikkers came home on a single. With a runner on base, Bowman ran down a foul ball in outfield to make the play.
The Leo defense was strong. Great hustle and determination allowed them to make great plays.
“We do not want to make the play fancy. We just want to make it right,” said Kline.