Claremont-Mudd-Scripps ended La Verne’s playoff hopes by beating the Leopards, 2-0, Sunday in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament at Campus West.
La Verne, winner of three straight SCIAC regular season softball titles, reached the final game by beating Pomona-Pitzer, 4-1, and Whittier, 3-2, the day before.
The finale was a rematch of the opening game of the tournament Friday, in which the Athenas also beat the Leopards, 2-0.
La Verne struggled offensively in the opener.
“I feel like our pitchers do their job and we have to do our job right behind them,” said head coach Julie Smith.
She said the team lacked discipline on offense.
“We had the plan and I don’t feel we stuck to the plan very well as a team,” Smith said.
Freshman pitcher Jiana Rojo was strong to start the game, putting pressure on CMS by pounding the strike zone.
“My inside pitches were definitely working for me,” Rojo said.
She said she tried to keep CMS off balance by mixing in more curveballs.
“Since Jiana has been the newcomer of the year, I think she had a lot on her shoulder when she was out pitching,” senior catcher Angelica DeAngelo said.
The Leopards had an opportunity to score in the fourth inning but could not accomplish it.
With two outs, sophomore first baseman Katheryn Navarro got on with an infield single and sophomore third baseman Justice Borden followed with a double to move Navarro to third.
A groundout by junior right fielder Sienna Kendricks ended the inning.
“I feel like once a batter got on, we got a little too nervous and decided to allow them to lead the game,” sophomore shortstop Shelby Tevis said.
CMS took the lead in the fifth, taking advantage of back-to-back hits and a walk to load the bases.
A walk to freshman left fielder Molly Spaniac brought in the first CMS run.
Junior third baseman Chloe Amarilla hit into a fielder’s choice to drive in another run to give the Athenas a 2-0 lead and all the offense they would need in the game.
“I think having a more disciplined approach and stick to a plan will help us do better in the upcoming games,” said Smith.
The offense perked up again Saturday against Pomona-Pitzer and Whittier but stalled in the rematch with CMS.
Claremont scored both of its runs in the first inning on back-to-back RBI singles by senior first baseman Briana Halle and freshman center fielder Kawai Scanlan. CMS senior pitcher Anna Gurr pitched a complete game for the shutout win.
The Leopards finished the 2018 season 28-16 overall and 21-7 in SCIAC play.
Vanessa Martinez can be reached at email@example.com.