by Greg MacDonald
In the final two games before the Trinity Tournament at San Antonio, Texas, the University of La Verne softball team tuned up its game by taking both games from Colorado College last Friday.
The Leopards opened the first game with a 5-3 come-from-behind win and closed out the two-game set against Colorado with a 9-1 victory.
After falling behind 3-0 in the first three and a half innings in the opening game, La Verne scored the game’s final five runs to win.
“We always have a tendency to get down in the first game, but that is a sign of a young team that is coming together,” said head coach Julie Kline.
Senior catcher Kelly Perkins opened the bottom of the fourth with a single. Sophomore center fielder Angel Mejico doubled in Perkins for the first Leopard run. Katie Miner, senior designated hitter, followed with a run scoring single to cut the Colorado advantage to 3-2.
La Verne scored two more runs in the fifth inning on a lead off single from junior right fielder Teresa Garcia and junior Liz Lomeli reaching on an error.
Freshman pitcher Michelle Geiger recovered from the third and fourth innings and set down nine out of the final 10 Colorado College batters to ice the victory.
In the second game, ULV got out in front early. In fact, the Leopards scored the first seven runs of the game.
Junior second baseman Lateka Clayton opened the first game with a single. Perkins followed with a single of her own. Two outs later, Mejico singled in Clayton for the ULV lead.
After the Leopards scored two more runs in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead, ULV piled the runs on.
Once again Clayton sparked the scoring with a lead off single in the fourth inning. Then, Perkins reached on an error. Sophomore first baseman Lindsey Weber brought both runners in with a triple.
Two pitches later, senior shortstop Laurie Grey was hit by the pitch. Both, Weber and Grey, scored on singles from Miner and senior left fielder Jenna Bowman.
Freshman pitcher Teresa DaValle earned the win, giving up only six hits and striking out three along the way.
The two wins send the Leopards to the tournament in San Antonio riding some momentum. The trip to Texas is the first time La Verne softball has traveled that far in the five years under coach Kline.
The softball team raised money for the trip by sponsoring a Hit-a-Thon.
When asked what winning would take in the tournament, Kline said, “I think it will depend on whether we hit the ball and score five or six runs. Then, we would be tough to beat. Of course in softball that is a lot of runs.”
The first opponent for ULV in the Trinity Tournament will be Coe College. The Leopards play Coe College on Sunday, March 23 at 9 a.m.
Coe College will really test ULV’s skills for two games. The Kohawks have a 29-1 conference record and two NCAA playoff bids over the last three seasons of play.
“We have the capability and talent to defeat any team we face, but with a little teamwork and execution of the fundamentals, we can be the top team,” said injured freshman outfielder Jennifer Thompson. “We need to start hard and end hard to be the top team.”
“This is why we are traveling, so we can see where we rank up to other teams around the country,” said Kline.
After the Leopards play that series, ULV plays the host of the tournament, Trinity College. The Leopards play the Tigers on March 24 at 7 p.m. and again on March 25 at 7 p.m.
“We will be competitive. Our team is coming together as a unit,” Kline said.
The finale for La Verne will be two games against the College of St. Benedict on March 26 at 9 a.m.
The Leopards return to SCIAC play April 4 at Occidental at 3 p.m.
La Verne, sporting a 5-5 conference record, is currently ranked third place in SCIAC behind first place Cal Lutheran (11-1) and second place Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (9-1).
La Verne is leading the conference in batting with a .365 average, topping Cal Lutheran’s .338 and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ .246.