Leopards display sound performance over Oxy

by Heather Baxter
Staff Writer

Dominating defensive and offensive play from the University of La Verne’s softball team culminated in two victories for the players, as they trampled Occidental in two games, 11-4 and 9-1.

The Leopards jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, as senior Sophia Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to center to score junior Robin Haaker from third.

Haaker’s pitching performance was impressive, as she kept the visiting Tigers hitless through two.

But, in the top of the third, Haaker began to struggle with her control. That problem was intensified as sophomore third baseman Melissa Macias’ costly error led to two unearned runs. The Tigers continued to chip away at the Leopards defense, taking a 3-1 lead in the third.

The Leopards answered back with five pivotal runs in the bottom half of the third.

A leadoff double by senior Lindsey Weber, who went 1-for-2 for the game, began the rally that put ULV ahead 9-3. Tiger pitcher Kristy Felker struggled, giving up three hits. Defensive errors by the Tigers also helped the Leopards score.

ULV added an insurance run in the fifth, when senior Kari Abbott, whose 3-for-4, 5 RBI performance led the Leopards to such a strong win, smacked a single to right, scoring Macias from third.

Occidental scored only once more in the top of the sixth, as Haaker again found herself struggling with her control. She gave up three hits and a walk before staunching the threatening rally.

The Leopards added one more run in the sixth, and held the Tigers to a three-up and three-down seventh inning.

Game two was another example of ULV’s dominance, as it beat Occidental, 9-1, in six innings, as the game was called due to the eight-run mercy rule.

Leopard pitcher Lacey Cramer had an impressive outing, holding onto a perfect game through four.

An error by senior center fielder Heather Johnson and a hit to left in the fifth broke up the offensive drought that plagued the Tigers.

La Verne scattered only two runs through the first four innings, as the Tiger defense made pivotal plays to prevent rallies.

The Leopards were able to take advantage of offensive opportunities to score three in the fifth to jump out to a 5-1 lead.

The excitement of the inning came from the bat of designated hitter, junior Jen Guerrero. As Tiger pitcher Joy Healy had previously left Guerrero hitless, this time Guerrero smacked her first collegiate homerun over the right/center field fence.

Guerrero would eventually go 2-for-4 with 5 RBI in the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, it would again be Guerrero to provide the fireworks for ULV’s offense, as her two-run single would put the Leopards ahead 9-1, ending the game.

“We’re a good team, [but] we were missing players today. We had people playing in completely different positions,” Healy said. “We were more cohesive as a team and we felt more comfortable as we grew into the positions, but it just wasn’t enough,” she said regarding the second game.

“As long as we played to our ability, we’d win,” said ULV head coach Julie Kline.

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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