The softball team split a doubleheader against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens after a strong fifth inning performance in game two Saturday. The Leopards lost game one, 9-4, and bounced back with a 10-5 win after late reassurance from the offense.
Junior pitcher Katelyn Shepard took the mound for the Leopards in game one with a record of 0-2.
The Leopards struggled to score first and before they knew it, the Sagehens had already gotten two runs off two singles through the infield. However, the Leopards managed to come back to tie the game in the bottom of the third with a single from senior utility player Katheryn Navarro. She proceeded to fake a steal causing another run to score making it 2-2.
“I’m just trying to put the bat to the ball and score some runs for my team,” said Navarro. “Coach tells me to execute even when there’s two outs, I’m always going to play strong and keep going.”
Immediately after the game was tied, the Sagehens took back the lead by taking advantage of the leadoff walk making it 2-3. They continued to add on as the game progressed.
The Leopards threatened to score in the bottom of the fourth with runners on first and third, but struck out keeping the score still.
Pomona-Pitzer went on a scoring run in the top of the fifth inning. The bases were loaded and a walk added to their score. A Leopard pitching change to sophomore pitcher Jocelyn Robertson, allowed Pomona-Pitzer two base hits bringing the score to 2-8 by the end of the sixth.
The Leopards failed to comeback and fell to Pomona-Pitzer with the final score of 4-9 in game one.
Game two went underway around about 25 minutes later and the Leopards were determined and locked in to win.
Junior pitcher Rachel Rubio took the mound for the Leopards in game two looking to back bounce.
Pomona-Pitzer continued to have their way with the Leopards scoring first again with a single to make it 0-1 in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the first, Navarro helped aid the Leopards score, tying the game with a base hit making it 1-1.
Pomona-Pitzer took the lead again in the top of the fourth making it a close 1-2 score.
Rubio pitched her second 1-2-3 inning of the game showing dominance in the top of 5th inning.
“My off-speed curve was working for me today,” said Rubio. “My goal was to really go after them and be on my A game. They’re a really scrappy team and make things happen quickly.”
The Leopards used the momentum from Rubio’s quick innings to have an unforgettable offensive display in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Sophomore third baseman Julie Contreras started off the offensive with an RBI double to make it 2-2. Moments after, Navarro once again comes in clutch for the Leopards hitting a home run, making it 4-2.
Freshman catcher Alyssa Campbell made more noise with a home run of her own putting the Leopards up 8-2, capping off a seven run fifth inning.
“I was just focusing on making contact and making my coach proud,” said Campbell.
Pomona-Pitzer threatened to come back in the top of the sixth inning, but ultimately failed making the final score 10-5.
“We just need to continue to play great softball,” said head coach Dennis Blas. “We didn’t play well in game one, but we showed resilience in game two and won as a team. If we continue to do that we’ll be very successful.”
The Leopards swept the Bridgewater Eagles in a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon, 12-6 and 8-0.
La Verne is now 8-2 overall and 2-1 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
Next up for the Leopards is Worcester Polytechnic Institute. They will face off in a doubleheader at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Campus West.
Aidan Balderas can be reached at email@example.com.