La Verne continued its eight game winning streak against Whittier on Saturday beating the Poets 3-0 in game one and 8-4 in game two.
But the streak came to an end on Sunday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps losing 2-1 in the first game, but coming back to win 3-0 in the second game.
“After the game, our moment is done and we must refocus for the next game. We have to believe we are more prepared, tougher, and better athletes,” La Verne head coach Julie Smith said. “This is our field, this is our playground.”
In the first game of the doubleheader, CMS scored in the fourth inning when senior Chelsea Baker pinch ran and scored on a throwing error by La Verne freshman third baseman Candice Nunez.
The Leopards’ defense let them down again when they committed their third error in the fifth and CMS capitalized, scoring an unearned run.
La Verne had its best chance in the sixth with bases loaded and no outs, but senior shortstop Ashley Paul was thrown out at home for the first out.
They remained loaded as freshman first baseman Raven Freret grounded out for the second out but scored senior center fielder Mandy Brenner on the play.
Freshman designated hitter Jackie Duran grounded out at the end of the inning stopping the rally, leaving two on base with three hits.
La Verne’s best threat of the game was not capitalized upon which resulted in a 2-1 defeat.
“Our plan was to come out with energy, get everyone on the same page, and believe we are the better team,” Smith said.
Motivated by the words of their coach, the Leopards made a comeback in the second game with freshman pitcher Laura Olson and senior pitcher Delaney Baylor combining for a six-hit shutout over the Athenas.
Paul and sophomore right fielder Amanda Hastings were the hitting stars of the game with two hits each, and both Paul and Hastings knocking in runs in the game.
In the fourth inning, senior Kaitlin Ward, Nunez and Hastings scored the three runs that earned the Leopards a victory over CMS.
In the doubleheader against Whitter on Saturday, La Verne junior catcher Daryn Schiveley once again proved why she is one of the anchors of the team.
Not only did she perform her normal stalwart catching duties, she also drove in two runs in the second game.
Baylor controlled the first game with a shutout to bring her record to 5-2.
“I think I did well, but there’s also the tougher side of me that thought I could have done better,” Baylor said.
“We went into the games feeling confident; we knew we’d win if we just came together,” Baylor added.
The Leopards opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with Freret singling in junior second baseman Tara Allis.
In the two-run fourth inning, pinch runner Ward scored on a ground ball by Hastings and Nunez scored an unearned run by Whittier junior third baseman Brenda Thompson giving La Verne the 3-0 win.
La Verne had five hits and three runs. Allis had two hits to lead the Leopards while Paul, Freret and Hastings drove in one run apiece.
The second game proved even more dominating for La Verne with a huge fifth inning.
In game two Brenner singled, sending in a hustling Nunez home from second.
In a bang-bang play at the plate, Nunez was able to avoid the catcher’s tag with an outstanding slide as her outstretched hand barely touched home plate.
The Leopards busted open the game with six hits and six runs in the bottom of the fifth.
“Hitting is contagious,” Paul said.
Hastings opened the inning with a double, followed by a single by Allis and a two-run single by junior outfielder Dee Dee Burns.
Freret followed with an RBI single scoring Burns. Ward scored on an infield fly rule off the bat of Schiveley. Later in the inning Brenner scored Nunez and Duran.
In the fifth, La Verne only left one runner on base.
One run short of the mercy rule, sophomore pitcher Carly Asher was brought in for a tired Olson as Whittier mounted a decent comeback in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs on one hit.
Olson was returned to close out the game in the bottom of the seventh giving La Verne the 8-4 win.
La Verne outslugged Whittier, 13 hits to six, including three for extra bases, to complete the sweep of the Poets.
“We just need to keep our intensity up,” Schiveley said. “We have to come out every game and keep hitting.”
On Wednesday La Verne visited Cal State San Marcos and lost both games.
The Leopards were given the mercy rule in the first game as they lost 8-0 in five innings.
In game two La Verne was held to one run on six hits and committed two errors.
The Leopards take on first place Redlands (8-0) for another doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday at Redlands.
La Verne is currently third in SCIAC with an overall record of 9-5 and a conference record of 5-1.
“Our expectation for the rest of the season is to come in first, take it one game at a time and to start strong and never let up,” Olson said.
Krista Franceschini can be reached at email@example.com.