After clinching a playoff berth with a sweep against the Redlands Bulldogs, the La Verne softball team came out swinging for its final home game of the season, with a 7-1 win over the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas in game one of the doubleheader Saturday at Campus West.
The team completed the sweep, 3-2, Sunday and extended their win streak to five.
The Leopards are now 18-10 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play and 23-17 overall.
“I thought our ladies came out ready to play and they did that yesterday against Redlands and they carried it over in today’s game,” head coach Julie Smith said.
“Our offense has been really hot lately and we’re continuing to stay hot,” she said.
The Athenas got on the scoreboard first in the top of the first inning.
Sophomore center fielder Alexa Heydenberk singled up the middle and she was able to score junior shortstop Tara Robinson on a catching error, 1-0.
This would be the only time CMS would score, as the Leopards took control of the game.
“I think we started out strong,” senior shortstop Dani Vela said.
“Especially coming into the season and going into our last conference game of the season, I think we’ve been playing as a whole,” she said.
In the bottom of the first, sophomore first baseman Alexis Schiff doubled to right field and scored designated hitter Mackenzie Dutton to tie the game at one.
Junior pitcher Katherine Kibbe followed with a single to right field.
Kibbe was able to score Dutton and the Leopards took a 2-1 lead.
Then in the bottom of the third, Kibbe hit a two-run home run to left field and scored Dutton, 4-1.
The Leopards continued to score runs, as CMS could not keep up. Dutton grounded out to second and scored junior center fielder Raeleen Tellez, allowing La Verne to take a 5-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Leopards kept racking up runs on the board and took advantage of the Athenas mistakes.
Tellez singled to left field, and with a catching error by junior first baseman Katie Savard, it moved sophomore third baseman Amanda Chavez to third and junior second baseman Victoria Baltazar to score.
On a fielder’s choice by Vela, Chavez was able to score.
CMS was unable to rally and score, as the Leopards sealed a 7-1 win.
“I’m just really excited and really happy,” senior right fielder De La Rosa said.
“Claremont’s a big rival of ours, so I’m really happy we kind of just finished them off,” she said.
Game two of the doubleheader was postponed to Sunday due to the rain, but that did not stop the Leopards’ momentum.
“The energy of the senior day I think has probably helped them for this game too,” Smith said.
“I do believe for the seniors that there’s just a little extra specialness to the game,” she said.
The score was picked up from the top of the fourth inning, with CMS leading, 1-0.
Both teams remained scoreless, until the Athenas managed to score.
In the top of the sixth, CMS freshman designated hitter Briana Halle singled to left field and scored Savard, 2-0.
La Verne answered back in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game, as Schiff doubled to left field for two RBIs.
She was able to score Ireland and senior left fielder Katie Cunningham. The Leopards managed to score once more and take the lead.
Kibbe singled down right field to score Schiff, 3-2. Schiff and Kibbe finished 1-for-3.
La Verne was able to hold off the Athenas until the end of the game to complete the sweep.
“We really came out of the door attacking and we came with a purpose to win and that’s what we did,” Ireland said.
With the win, the team earned the second seed in the 2015 SCIAC postseason tournament, while CMS is in third place.
Five seniors were honored before the game, De La Rosa, Vela, Cunningham, Ireland and Rachel Hong.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet. I feel like I’m going to be more sad, maybe, at the tournament, but for right now, I just know that we’re going on, so I’m not to worried about it,” De La Rosa said.
“The girls are probably part of the reason why I definitely play here. If they weren’t like my family, like my sisters, I definitely wouldn’t continue playing,” she said.
With postseason coming up for the Leopards, the team is confident in executing a game plan to come out with the victory.
“I think we have a good chance if we all come out together and attack like we are now,” Ireland said.
The Leopards will face the Athenas once again for the first game of the postseason tournament 11:30 a.m. Friday, hosted by top-seed Whittier at Charles and Marie Palmer Softball Field.
“We’re starting on a clean slate right now, so it’s winner-take-all,” Vela said.
“Just knowing that whatever happens, my teammates have my back. Knowing that, we will pick each other up during hard times,” she said.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @_jjolenenacapuy.
Chris McMahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thought Kibbe will win in this league final
Comments are closed.