The softball team earned its first victory of the season sweeping a doubleheader against Chapman by scores of 11-1 and 4-1 on Saturday.
After a tough loss at their first preseason opener against Azusa Pacific, the Leopards came out aggressive and confident against the Panthers hammering 14 hits in the opener locking in a mercy rule.
“We swept Chapman last year so we were confident that we would do it again,” senior outfielder Lisa Neu said.
“This game everyone was ready, we knew what Chapman could do and we were prepared,” fourth-season head coach Julie Smith said.
The Leopards’ first six batters came with fire in the first inning all recording hits against Panther pitcher Katie Terry.
Mandy Brenner, senior outfielder, led off with a single and steal to second, followed by sophomore first basemen Amanda Hastings with an RBI double.
Following junior shortstop Tara Allis’ single, Dee Dee Burns, junior outfielder, stepped up to bat and got a two-run single.
Raven Freret hit a single, but it was junior catcher Daryn Schievely’s RBI that helped close the first inning with a 4-0 advantage over the Panthers.
The Leopards never slowed down the pace offensively or defensively, performing impressive base-running and diving catches throughout the rest of the game.
In the third, Burns earned another RBI. Giving her a total of four RBI in the doubleheader against Chapman.
The hard-hitting Leopards obtained a 10-1 lead closing the third with six runs and seven hits.
Freret closed the fourth with a soaring homer to right-center field putting fans on their feet and the Panthers looking defeated.
Starting senior pitcher Delaney Baylor pitched the first four innings giving up only one earned run.
Baylor found herself in some pressure situations, when the Panthers loaded bases.
Baylor said that it is her good relationship with junior catcher Schieveley is what keeps her relaxed in tight situations.
“We have a good connection, she come talks to me and supports me,” Baylor said.
Baylor brought in the win, allowing five hits during her four pitched innings, while freshman pitcher Lauren Olson pitched the final inning allowing just one hit.
The Leopards lacked the same pace in the second game, but pulled out the win.
They collected all of their four runs in the second inning. Candice Nunez, freshman third baseman, shined with a two-run triple and also an RBI single.
Allis had an RBI single and a remarkable diving catch and tag at second base against the Panthers.
The Leopards will need to bring the same hitting and communication to secure a win this weekend against Cal Lutheran.
Last season the Leopards finished 20-10 overall and 14-10 in SCIAC, earning them third place in the conference and a trip to the postseason.
La Verne fell short in the first round of the NCAA Championships, losing 1-0 to Louisiana College and 11-8 to Texas-Tyler.
The Leopards have eight new women on the team, seven of which are freshmen.
La Verne hopes the additions to the team will help them earn another trip to the NCAA post- season.
The women will begin conference play with an eight game home stand.
They start with a double-header at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday against Cal Lutheran at Wheeler Park.
Alyssa Cole can be reached at email@example.com.