It was a game of senior moments and emotions as the La Verne softball team finished out their season frying the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens on Senior Day.
After losing a close battle in game one of the doubleheader with a score of 1-0, the Leopards led by all four of their seniors, dropped 10 on the Sagehens in game two, canceling them out early at the bottom of the fifth.
“It’s an overwhelming amount of emotions right now,” senior outfielder Carly Condon said. “It was such a great way for all four of us to go out with a bang.”
All four seniors – catcher Melissa Garcia, right fielder Sienna Kendricks, left fielder Rachel Ogata and Condon – made huge story book ending plays to finish their careers.
Between them, they were responsible for all 10 RBIs in game two after going just a combined 1-for-11 in game one.
It started in the bottom of the first inning when Garcia hit a home run down center field to bring junior third baseman Justice Borden and Kendricks home.
“I just felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Garcia said. “I am glad I was able to go out with a bang and end my final doubleheader on a good note.”
The Sagehens would respond back at the top of the second and third innings with two RBIs of their own making the score 3-2.
Ogata set the tone defensively in the top of the second inning when she made her second diving catch of the season from her left out field position to cancel the Sagehens’ second scoring efforts with bases loaded.
“Honestly when you’re in the moment you don’t think about it being your last game and that you have to do something,” Ogata said. “I felt a lot of emotions at that moment because I was doing it for my team which is who I’ve always done it for all season.”
The Leopards would then run with the lead the rest of the game.
Of the two big plays that Kendricks had, the first one came in the bottom of the third inning when she hit a double RBI down the infield line to bring home sophomore first baseman Gabriella Underwood.
Ogata and Kendricks then took over the bottom of the fourth. Ogata started it off with an RBI of her own off a single to bring home junior outfielder Kayla Giannatasio.
Kendricks’ second big play outshined her first when she hit a home run down center field bringing Underwood and Ogata home along with her.
“Hitting doubles and home runs always feels great, but to do both in this game, at those moments, in front of my family was an amazing feeling,” Kendricks said.
Ogata shared Kendricks’ sentiment about performing well in her last game in front of her family.
“I had been struggling through the day,” Ogata said. “I really didn’t think I was going to get another at bat so to end my softball career that way was pretty special.”
Condon put the nail in the coffin for the Sagehens, with bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The last play of the game was her RBI off a double to bring home Giannatasio and junior designated player Katheryn Navarro.
“It was a fairy tale ending to finish 17 years of playing softball,” Condon said. “I have not had the best season but that last at bat, I felt like I had the whole crowd behind me and Pomona put back their starting pitcher back in so I just came to plate with the mindset of let’s go; whatever happens, happens.”
The game ended with the whole team running out to Condon at second base where they all emotionally embraced in a team huddle to finish their season.
Dominic Honoré can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.