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Softball edges out Redlands in SCIAC opener

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Anthony Eramya
Staff Writer

The La Verne Leopards had a magnificent win over the Redlands Bulldogs Friday at Ben Hines Field, 4-3.

This was La Verne’s first conference game of the season and with the win the Leopards are now 7-2 on the season and are 2-1 in conference.

Junior middle infielder Niyah Brown was the savior of this game. After a single by sophomore outfielder Francheska Juarez and a pop fly by utility player Katheryn Navarro that advanced Juarez to second base.

While Juarez was on second, Brown stepped up to the plate and hit a deep bomb right down the middle that sent Juarez home and gave the Leopards a walk off win in eight innings, taking the game 4-3.

The Leopards were easily getting players on base, but they were struggling to put points on the board.

“We weren’t as productive as we should have been today, but it just feels good to help my team out,” Brown said.

Head coach Dennis Blas said he was happy for the Leopards’ win but he also saw room for improvement.

“We could have ended a little earlier. We left 13 people on base, but we clutched up.” Blas said.

During the game senior shortstop Ashley Soto bumped heads with one of her teammates. Soto was down for a while and had to be pulled out of the game but luckily it was on her own two feet.

“Ashley Soto got banged up on that play in the outfield, so we’ll get her worked on and evaluated for the next one.” Blas said.

Jiana Rojo also stepped up in big parts of the game. The junior pitcher pitched 143 times for a total of 88 strikes. Rojo also tallied a home run in the fifth inning that also allowed Brown to run in for a two score play.

“(I’m) very amped up but great win,” Rojo said after the game. “(The home run) felt really good because I know we needed that in that moment.”

Junior first baseman Gabriella Underwood is an important player to La Verne’s success due to her veteran leadership.

“We’re all looking pretty forward to our next couple of games,” Underwood said. “(Redlands) are No. 1 right now. We just beat the No. 1 team in the conference so I think we are all looking forward to becoming the No. 1 team.”

The Leopards are 7-3 on the season and will next play on the road at Cal Lutheran at 2 p.m. Friday.

Anthony Eramya can be reached at anthony.eramya@laverne.edu.

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