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Softball team falls short of nationals

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Anthony Carter
Staff Writer

The Leopards won their third straight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title this year, finishing up the season with a record of 28-16 and falling short of nationals.

La Verne had an decent start at the beginning of the season versus non-conference play, having a .500 start.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps was the first conference opponent of the season and the Leopards were looking for a great start toward another title.

“Coming into this season we all knew we had a target on our backs. People were going to come at us with all they had because we were the team to beat,” junior second basemen Michelle DeGuzman said.

The Leopards split the first conference doubleheader 1-1.

After first two games, La Verne went on a seven-game winning streak behind great play from freshman pitcher Jiana Rojo.

“I think what kept me so composed was the fact that I never liked to show emotion on the mound and knowing my teammates have my back on the field with their defense and at the plate scoring runs,” Rojo said.

Rojo, finished her first collegiate season with 56 strikeouts going 11-7 as a starter.

“Next season I look forward to getting back on the field with my teammates and winning another conference championship as well as winning the tournament,” Rojo said.

With such a young team, the Leopards look to return most of their key players.

“I felt like this season we accomplished so much as a team because we are younger. It is exciting to see what next season brings because we have so much room to grow,” junior outfielder Sienna Kendricks said.

Four members of the team were voted on to the All-SCIAC team.

Junior outfielder Carly Condon and Rojo were voted onto the first team while senior Elisa Ponce and sophomore Katheryn Navarro made second team.

Condon had a great season, earning first team for the second straight year. She finished the season with 41 hits, 26 runs and 19 RBIs, leading the team in all three categories and started all 44 games.

Heading late into post season play, sophomore Justice Borden was named SCIAC Athlete of the Week having after a big game in the final innings against Whittier and Redlands.

“When needs a rise within our team I make sure to help out any possible way I can whether it be taking a pitch to the elbow to get on base, dropping a sacrifice bunt to move a runner into scoring position or coming in clutch with a hit to score some runs,” Borden said.

Borden finished that week with three RBIs, four hits and six runs, helping her team advance to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.

The Leopards dropped the first game of the tournament to CMS 2-0.

The next game, in which they would face Whittier, was a elimination game for them.

La Verne beat Whittier in a close 3-2 game.

The Leopards had to go through Pomona-Pitzer to make it to the championship game where CMS awaited them.

The Leopards beat Pomona-Pitzer, 4-1, to reach the final.

La Verne fought hard but lost to CMS in the championship game, 2-0.

“I am very proud to be a three peat champion and to be a part of this team. It is definitely a blessing and it pushes us to be better every year,” sophomore shortstop Shelby Tevis said.

La Verne looks to go for another conference title next year as well as advancing to nationals.

“We definitely are going for a four-peat next year but we just have to take it one game at a time, play hard as a team and leave it all on the field,” Tevis said.

Anthony Carter can be reached at anthony.carter@laverne.edu.

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