Despite holding the lead for five innings, the Leopards’ softball team lost, 3-1, against the Pacific Lutheran Lutes on Saturday in extra innings at Campus West.
“The problem is we didn’t execute with runners on base. We had some chances to score,” La Verne head coach Dennis Blas said. “Sometimes it happens. I’m proud of the way we played today, we just have to finish it off.”
The Leopards struck first in the bottom of the second inning when junior first baseman Jaylene Jaloma hit an RBI single off Lutes’ senior pitcher Cassidy Conrad. Sophomore catcher Alyssa Campbell crossed home plate, making the score 1-0, which held for the next three innings.
Action picked back up again in the top of the sixth inning when junior pitcher Jocelyn Robertson walked Pacific Lutheran’s junior catcher Casey Wright to start off the inning. Wright came around to score and tie the game on a throwing error by Campbell.
The Leopards were looking to bounce back and gain some momentum in the bottom half of the inning but failed to do so, going down in order.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Lutes were ready to score some insurance runs. With one out, senior second baseman Cailey Collado doubled to center field. Junior left fielder Mattie Cheever followed up with a single to shallow left field. Collado tried to advance to third on this hit but was thrown out at third base. After one more walk, the inning ended on a lineout by Wright, and the score remained tied at one.
In the bottom of the seventh and final inning of regulation play, the Leopards were hoping for a walkoff win. Senior first baseman Marissa Acosta singled to center field and then stole second base. Campbell then walked to get on base for the second time in the game. With runners on first and second, Jaloma had her third at-bat of the game. Jaloma grounded out but advanced both runners. Junior third baseman Julie Contreras pinch hit for freshman second baseman Cassandra Zapata. The runners were left stranded when Contreras grounded out. The game went into extra innings tied, 1-1.
On the first pitch of the top of the eighth inning that Robertson threw, Pacific Lutheran senior right fielder Erin McGrath hit a rocket over the left field wall, putting the Lutes on top, 2-1.
“I know my team had my back,” Robertson said. “A big word for us is consistency, and we had it today. They really kept me going.”
Robertson pitched the entire eight innings and gave up nine hits, walked two, struck out four and gave up two runs, one earned and one unearned.
Despite a runner on base, The Leopards could not score in the bottom of the eighth inning, ending the game and losing, 2-1.
“We had a solid game, we need to get timely hits,” Jaloma said. “Tough loss, but we’ll definitely come back from this. We’re a great team.”
As a team, the Leopards’ offense had six hits, two walks, two strikeouts and four runners left on base.
“We came out really strong. We had a win last night and we brought that energy back,” senior shortstop Taylor Gray said. “We need to work our sticks a bit more, the energy was there, but we needed to hit more today.”
The Leopards will look to get back into the win column against Puget Sound at 3 p.m. Friday for a doubleheader matchup at Campus West.
Sydney Ferris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.