Assistant Sports Editor
La Verne settled for a split against No. 18 Redlands Saturday at Campus West.
The Bulldogs took game one, 8-4, but the Leopards came back in game two, winning 9-1, in five innings.
“I am not happy about the results today in game one,” head coach Julie Smith said. “The team’s effort to tie was really good but it wasn’t enough to close out.”
Redlands scored early in the top of the second inning.
With bases loaded, Bulldogs senior center outfielder Erika Houseman, hit to far left field, making it too high for La Verne junior left outfielder Katie Cunningham to catch right away.
Junior first baseman Nikoli Sharp was able to steal home with the hit by Houseman, putting Redlands on the board first, 1-0.
With the double team of junior left fielder Rebecca Ireland and shortstop Danielle Vela, they managed to get runners out on second to prevent Redlands from going onto third base.
In the sixth inning, La Verne got on the scoreboard, when senior left outfielder Laura Olson hit a single to left field and allowed Ireland to score, but the Bulldogs still led the game, 4-1.
Ireland also stole third base with a mistake by sophomore shortstop Vicki King.
“Something like this is really though but it’s something that we can learn from,” Vela said. “We just need to adjust earlier and come back faster.”
Junior center outfielder BreeAnna De La Rosa hit to left field and Olson, who also stole third base, came in to score, cutting the lead to 4-2.
The game started to brighten up for the Leopards as freshman first baseman Alexis Schiff stroked a hit to center field that allowed De La Rosa and Vela to come home, tying the game at 4-4.
Schiff is currently hitting .355 with a one home run and 10 RBI in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“I felt excitement and energized when we caught up to tie the game and thought that we could pull through in the game,” Vela said.
The Bulldogs answered back and controlled the last inning of the game with double steals and mistakes made by the La Verne defense.
The Leopards switched to relief pitchers from freshman pitcher Hayley Jaquess.
Sophomore pitcher Lyndsay Godwin took the place of Jaquess but was later switched to junior pitcher Rachel Wong in hopes of catching up.
Ireland, Olson and senior Melisa Sponholz tried to catch up but were unable to get past second base, resulting in Redlands taking game one, 8-4.
“It was good that we came back and had an opportunity to win,” Smith said. “But unfortunately, we just had minor mistakes out there that we didn’t adjust to fast enough.”
In game two, La Verne stepped up and was able to take advantage of mistakes made by Redlands to get a solid lead.
Cunningham was able to get a two-out RBI single, giving La Verne a 6-1 lead.
Sophomore first baseman Katherine Kibbe had an RBI single, scoring Olson and freshman third baseman third baseman Amanda Chavez scored on an error made by King.
“I feel that in the sixth inning in game one, we saw that we could beat them and took that into game two,” Freret said. “We came into the game a lot more relaxed had a confidence booster and did what we were supposed to do.”
Sophomore right outfielder Mackenzie Dutton followed with a single to right field.
This provided the Leopards with a walk-off victory.
Ireland had three runs batted in and Kibbe had two for the Leopards.
Kibbe has a 0.37 ERA in her last three starts.
“As a team we need to be more focused and lock in,” Vela said. “Sometimes we go in our own world but we need to really keep it together and stay together.”
Before the games, La Verne honored its four seniors, Olson, catcher Melisa Sponholz, left fielder Jacklyn Duran and Freret.
“It’s a surreal feeling to think that my season here is ending,” Freret said. “I enjoy the times I spend with my team and I’m going to miss everything about it.”
Freret is hitting .469 in SCIAC play and tied for the lead with five doubles.
“I’m going to miss the seniors and all their hard work and dedication to the softball program,” Smith said. “I just want to wish them all good luck and hope that they learn from the field and see them in future alumni games.”
The Leopards also defeated Chapman Thursday in a doubleheader game, 6-4 and 9-6.
It was one of the best pitching staff games in the SCIAC, as La Verne had 15 runs on 21 hits in the sweep.
In game one, Freret had an RBI single, scoring De La Rosa to put La Verne on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning.
With two outs, the Leopards managed to score three more runs in the second.
Schiff scored the game winning run for the Leopards with an RBI single.
Freshman pitcher Hayley Jaquess gave up just one earned run and struck out five in the win.
La Verne scored eight runs in the final four innings to beat the Panthers in game two, 9-6.
Vela and Ireland both had RBI singles.
Kibbe pitched all seven innings and finished the game with three strikeouts and went 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Leopards are now 12-14 in SCIAC play and 18-20 overall.
The Leopards conclude its season in a doubleheader game Saturday starting noon at Pomona-Pitzer.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.