CMS ends La Verne’s season, 6-1

Freshman infielder Melissa Macias misses a ground ball during a game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the SCIAC Single Round Robin tournament. The Leopards lost the game 6-1, ending their season. / photo by Summer Herndon
Freshman infielder Melissa Macias misses a ground ball during a game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the SCIAC Single Round Robin tournament. The Leopards lost the game 6-1, ending their season. / photo by Summer Herndon

by Danny Eckardt
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne softball team brought an outstanding 26-10 overall season to a close last Saturday, when it lost to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 6-1, in the last of the three-day Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Single Round Robin tournament.

“Its a tough way to go down, but we have had a lot of success this season,” said a teary-eyed senior pitcher Amber Hall, who pitched the final game of her college career against the Athenas.

La Verne did take second place in SCIAC with a 14-4 record, but the loss to CMS cost ULV any chance of continuing on to the NCAA tournament.

The Leopards lost their bid to play in the NCAA championships because of their previous tournament losses to now SCIAC champion Cal Lutheran, 3-0, on Thursday and Occidental, 3-2, on Friday.

“We had an outstanding season,” said head coach Julie Kline. “We have quality people in our program who are winners.”

La Verne managed to beat three of its six SCIAC rivals last weekend. Those teams included Whittier, 6-2, and Redlands, 16-7, last Friday, and Pomona-Pitzer, 11-3, on Saturday.

When the Leopards entered the game against CMS Saturday, it was the final contest of a physically demanding three-day series.

The team may have been worn down by that time, but it did not go down without a fight.

“We did everything we could. The team was a team, and no one backed down at all,” said freshman pitcher/third baseman Robin Haaker.

The Leopards came up strong defensively in the first two innings when Hall blanked the Athenas, but La Verne could not seem to score a run when it was up to bat.

CMS would light up the scoreboard for the first time of the game in the third inning, when junior left fielder Lindsey Weber dropped a sharply hit fly ball to allow a run to score.

Unfortunately for La Verne, Weber’s miscue was the first of three costly errors that the Leopards would make.

In the fourth inning, Hall was pulled from the mound in favor of Haaker and sent to third base because of the three runs that scored while she was pitching.

Surprisingly, Hall was accountable for only one of the three runs because of the errors.

“I think we did what we had to do [relieving Hall], and Amber came back and played her heart out at third and showed us she wasn’t going to give up at all,” Haaker said.

The Athenas continued to pound the Leopards until they scored six runs. At the end of the top half of the fifth inning CMS was finished with its scoring barrage.

The Leopards remained offensively docile until the bottom of the seventh inning when sophomore catcher Kadie Tillema hit a solo home run over the center field fence for the only Leopard run of the game.

“I think it was a combination of a defensive let down and lack of hitting production,” Kline said.

The three seniors on this year’s team — left fielder Jaime Anderson, outfielder Teresa Garcia and Hall — have made a great impact on the team’s overall season performance.

“Our seniors have contributed greatly to the success of our program this year,” said Kline. “They provided leadership and enthusiasm that was contagious. They will be greatly missed.”

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