Leopards take series win against Athenas

Sydney Ferris
Staff Writer 

After getting swept by the Whittier Poets last week, the La Verne softball team came out with a vengeance when they began a three game series against the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas at Campus West on April 7, winning the ballgame, 8-3.

The series continued on Saturday at Athena Field in Claremont, where the Leopards won the first game of the doubleheader, 8-5, and lost the second, 2-1, to take the series win.

Head coach Dennis Blas handed the ball to senior pitcher Rachel Rubio to Friday’s game. Rubio came in with an 8-5 record and 3.00 ERA.

“When we have Rubio on the mound, we have a really great chance of winning, ” Blas said. “I’m proud of the way we played today, but we’re going to take it one game at a time.”

The Athenas started the scoring, bringing in three runs on three hits in the top of the second inning. 

La Verne battled back immediately. The first three batters that Claremont freshman pitcher Hannah Adams faced in the bottom of the second inning reached base.

Freshman third baseman Isabella Garcia walked but was thrown out when sophomore second baseman Erika Garcia reached first base on a fielder’s choice. Freshman right fielder Isabella Bastien then singled to right field, putting two runners on for sophomore catcher Alyssa Campbell.

Campbell hit a three-run home run over the left field fence, tying the game, 3-3.

The Leopards were not done yet. With two outs, junior center fielder Haylee Hsieh singled to center field, and crossed home plate on an RBI double by sophomore left fielder Ashley Rodriguez. Just like that, La Verne led the game, 4-3.

“We all came out with a fire under us,” Campbell said. “We’re going to keep using this momentum to go forward.”

CMS freshman pitcher Maya Loper came in to relieve Adams in the bottom of the third inning. 

The bottom of the fourth inning began with Loper walking Campbell. Senior shortstop Taylor Gray singled to center field and Hsieh walked after a long at bat. Senior first baseman Marissa Acosta reached on a fielder’s choice when Claremont threw out junior Cailin Bliss at home, who pinch ran for Campbell. 

Rodriguez reached on a catcher’s interference, bringing in Gray and putting the Leopards on top by two. Junior designated player Jaylene Jaloma was then hit by a pitch, moving up all the runners and making the score 6-3. Erika Garcia walked, scoring Acosta and giving La Verne the lead, 7-3.

“We kept things really simple and trusted our process,” Acosta said. “We really picked each other up both offensively and defensively.”

Rodriguez led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single off of CMS junior pitcher Jade Johnson. Jaloma hit a sacrifice bunt and Rodriguez advanced all the way to third. Erika Garcia brought in Rodriguez when she singled through the left side, making the score 8-3.

Rubio came out strong in the top of the seventh inning, getting three consecutive outs and striking out the final batter of the game. Rubio pitched a complete game, allowed three hits, three runs and a walk, and struck out five batters. 

“Once they scored first, we were in attack mode from that moment on,” Rubio said. “I was really happy to see my team come back from that.”

La Verne is now 16-13 overall and 4-8 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play after Tuesday’s 4-1 loss against Redlands. They remain in sixth place in the SCIAC standings.

The Leopards will travel to Bell Field in Los Angeles to begin a three game series against the Occidental Tigers at 3 p.m. Friday. The two teams will follow up with a doubleheader at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday at Campus West.

Sydney Ferris can be reached at sydney.ferris@laverne.edu.

Sydney Ferris is a junior communications major with an emphasis in public relations and a staff writer for the Campus Times. Her interests include sports, fashion, beauty and animals.

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