by Greg MacDonald
Pitching and scoring runs have not been problems for the University of La Verne softball team in recent weeks.
The Leopards have won six straight games and have outscored their three opponents in that time 58-5, including three shutouts.
La Verne defeated Biola University twice by a score of 11-1 Friday and dropped Colorado College 14-0 and 11-3 Monday.
And after a two-game sweep of Redlands (1-0 and 8-0) on Saturday, ULV is tied with Occidental for third place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference at 4-2. The Leopards are 10-4 overall.
“I believe our abilities to focus and be fundamentally sound have helped us get better and win games,” Julie Kline, head coach, said.
Both games against Colorado College were called early due to the eight run mercy rule. In the first game, senior pitcher Amber Hall pitched all five innings and gave up only one hit and one walk.
Sophomore catcher Kadie Tillema provided all the offense the Leopards needed with a home run and a double. She finished 2-for-3 with four RBI and two runs scored. Junior designated hitter Lindsey Weber added a 3-for-3 performance, including three RBI.
Tillema had another home run in the second game against Colorado College. Her three-run shot along with two RBI apiece from Hall and senior third baseman Liz Lomeli enabled ULV to force the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning, which won the game.
On Saturday, La Verne shut out the Bulldogs behind the pitching of Hall and freshman Robin Haaker. Hall held Redlands to six hits and made Weber’s run-scoring double in the fourth inning stand up for the victory.
“It has been a total team effort,” Kline said. “Amber and Robin have been very consistent and the team has supported their efforts.”
In game two of the doubleheader, ULV only needed the minimum number of innings (five) to dispose of the Bulldogs.
Junior shortstop Kari Abbott and designated hitter Sophia Garcia each had two RBI and freshman second baseman Melissa Macias went 1-for-2 with three RBI.
“We will continue to take one game at a time, emphasizing the importance of every game we play,” Kline said. “If we continue our team effort, the outcome will take care of itself.”
Hall leads the Leopards with a batting average of .477. Weber is second with a .463 average and Haaker is third at .435. ULV has a combined team batting average of .372 and seemingly has a different hero in each game.
“I think that is a sign of confident players and a team who has a strong desire to do well,” Kline said.
The Leopards play host to Western Washington tomorrow at noon. ULV continues its play in the Chapman Tournament next Thursday at 12:15 p.m.