The softball team swept the Cal Lutheran Regals, 5-4, and 8-0, in a doubleheader Saturday at Campus West to kick off their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule.
In the first game, Leopards freshman catcher Melissa Garcia hit an RBI double to deep left to give La Verne the lead in the sixth inning.
“It was our first game of the season, and we were prepared to get in there and get a win,” sophomore catcher Angelica DeAngelo said. “We started out strong by scoring first, and it was just our way of proving to them that we were ready.”
In the bottom of the third inning, La Verne got on the board first after a fielding error that scored freshman right fielder Rachel Ogata, 1-0.
Junior first baseman Alexis Schiff added to the score with a double to left to drive in senior third baseman Mackenzie Dutton and freshman second baseman Carly Condon.
The Leopards led, 3-0, at the end of the third inning. Schiff finished the game 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
With the Leopards up 4-0 heading into the sixth inning, the Regals got on the board to tie the game.
Cal Lutheran opened up the scoring with a two-run home run by senior pitcher Blake Lewis.
La Verne then allowed two runs on a double steal and a fielding error, which brought in sophomore relief pitcher Abbigael Howard and senior center fielder Hannah Brown to tie the game, 4-4, in the top of the sixth inning.
The Leopards bounced back when Garcia’s double scored senior shortstop Victoria Baltazar, making the score 5-4. Garcia went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
“After a tough sixth inning, we had to answer back,” Baltazar said.
La Verne senior pitcher Katy Kibbe pitched a complete game with six strikeouts. She is 2-0 this season.
The Leopards carried their momentum into the second game of the doubleheader, beating the Regals, 8-0, in five innings.
“The second game was definitely how we expected it,” Ogata said. “We came out with our bats and our defense and pitching have always been solid. So I think we should be beating teams by a lot, and I think that we’re expecting that throughout the season.”
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Leopards scored seven runs.
Dutton doubled to left center field for an RBI, and scored Condon, 1-0. Dutton finished the game 3-for-3 with a run, and two RBIs.
Then freshman left fielder Sienna Kendricks singled, which brought in Dutton, 2-0.
Headed in into the bottom of the fifth inning, up 7-0, Kendricks came through for La Verne one last time.
She doubled to left to score Baltazar to bring the score to 8-0 and invoke the mercy rule.
Kendricks finished the game 2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs. Leopards’ junior pitcher Hayley Jaquess struck out five in five innings.
Jaquess was perfect in the game, except when she hit the leadoff batter in the top of the third inning.
Jaquess was named the Leopard of the Week, as a result of her extraordinary game.
“As her catcher of that game, you could tell she was more than ready and so excited to get out there and pitch. She just had this unshakeable confidence when she was on the mound,” DeAngelo said. “She is one of the hardest working, most humble players I have ever had the privilege to play with.”
The team is now 2-0 in the SCIAC and 3-0 overall. The Leopards are back in action this weekend, facing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and George Fox in doubleheaders.
La Verne will face CMS Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. at Athena Field. Then they will return back to Campus West and face George Fox, starting at 1 p.m.
Jose Brambila can be reached at email@example.com.