Softball gets heartbroken in extras

Junior catcher Alyssa Cambell catches a high fastball in game one of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. After battling for nine innings, the Leopards lost, 10-4. / photo by Lindsey Pacela
Junior catcher Alyssa Cambell catches a high fastball in game one of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. After battling for nine innings, the Leopards lost, 10-4. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

Jack Janes
Sports Editor

Kirstin Sanchez delivers a pitch in the first game of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. The Leopards ended up losing in nine innings, 10-4. / photo by Lindsey Pacela
Kirstin Sanchez delivers a pitch in the first game of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. The Leopards ended up losing in nine innings, 10-4. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

The Leopards grinded in an extra-innings battle before ultimately falling in the ninth inning 10-4 to the Pacific Lutheran Lutes in the first game of their doubleheader on Saturday at Campus West. 

“We’re definitely not a team that’s ever going to let down, I think we’ve been able to show that,” head coach Tara Anaya said. “I think where we’re just lacking is really dialing it in and just executing play by play. We left some people on, we made some errors so we just have to be able to put it all together.”

Junior left-handed pitcher Kirstin Sanchez started on the mound for the Leopards and tossed seven innings and gave up three runs with only one of them earned on four hits, three walks and two strikeouts. After giving up a solo shot on the second batter of the game, Sanchez settled in and would not give up another run until the sixth inning. Sanchez did a good job of minimizing damage and getting herself out of jams throughout the game to keep it a close game. 

“It just takes a team effort to win games and it’s all a mindset and we do great when we all work together,” Sanchez said.

The Leopards offense did not get going until the fourth inning. Junior infielder Erika Garcia and Sanchez hit back-to-back singles and sophomore corner infielder Isabella Garcia flew out to left to advance both runners, making it second and third with two outs. Then graduate student infielder Taylor Gray had a seven-pitch at bat and hit a single the other way with two strikes to score Garcia and tie the game at 1-1. Then senior utility player Mia Pintado followed that with a floater over the head of Pacific Lutheran senior second baseman Rylie Wada to score Sanchez and take a 2-1 lead.

Graduate student Taylor Gray fouls off a pitch in game one of the doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. The Leopards lost, 10-4, in nine innings. / photo by Lindsey Pacela
Graduate student Taylor Gray fouls off a pitch in game one of the doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. The Leopards lost, 10-4, in nine innings. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

The Lutes answered back in the sixth inning because of some costly mistakes by the Leopards. Pacific Lutheran senior designated player Emma Ware got a two-out hit with a full count, then freshman outfielder Jaycie Simpliciano pinch ran for Ware. 

A wild pitch advanced Ware to second and miscommunication between Garcia and graduate student first baseman Marissa Acosta on a pop-up allowed Ware to score to tie the game at 2-2. 

The Lutes took the lead in the seventh inning after the leadoff hitter reached on an error by Garcia, then stole second and was moved to third after a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore outfielder Paola Garcia grounded out to second to allow the run to score and the Lutes had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.

Freshman first baseman and outfielder Julia Miramontes came in to pinch hit to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and she lined a single up the middle. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder Angelina Alderete, and then Acosta came up huge for the Leopards with a double to score Miramontes and tie the game at 3-3 to force extra innings.

“We all back each other up and I think that’s the biggest thing,” Miramontes said. “We’ll bounce back right away, we’re good enough girls, we have the chemistry that’s there, we just bounce back.”

Head coach Tara Anaya gives her players instructions during the first game of their doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. The Leopard lost the first game of their doubleheader, 10-4, in extra innings. / photo by Lindsey Pacela
Head coach Tara Anaya gives her players instructions during the first game of their doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday. The Leopard lost the first game of their doubleheader, 10-4, in extra innings. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

The Lutes blew the game wide open in the ninth inning when Paola Garcia hit a two-out double to score senior outfielder Arabella Perez to take a 4-3 and then sophomore right fielder Zoe Smithson and senior catcher Casey Wright both hit three-run home runs to quickly extend the lead to 10-3. 

Staring at seven-run deficit with just three outs to work with, the Leopards battled to score a run when Miramontes once again led off the inning with a single and then later scored on an Erika Garcia single to right field, but obviously not enough and the Leopards lost 10-4. 

The Leopards then lost another heartbreaker in the second game of the double header 5-4.

“It’s literally the tiniest adjustments,” Acosta said. “Jumping on pitches early, moving our feet on defense a little more, this team was able to capitalize when they had two outs and just driving in runs and I think that’s where they beat us today.”

The Leopards have a pair of doubleheaders this week at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Campus West against John Carroll and at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday at Campus West against Carnegie Mellon. 

The Leopards are now 2-4 on the season.

Jack Janes can be reached at jack.janes@laverne.edu.

The University of La Verne softball team huddles to prepare for their upcoming game against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday at Campus West. The Leopards fought hard in an extra innings battle, but lost game one of the doubleheader, 10-4, in nine innings. / photo by Lindsey Pacela
The University of La Verne softball team huddles to prepare for their upcoming game against Pacific Lutheran on Saturday at Campus West. The Leopards fought hard in an extra innings battle, but lost game one of the doubleheader, 10-4, in nine innings. / photo by Lindsey Pacela

Jack Janes, a senior journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine. He is also a staff photographer for both publications. He previously served as a Campus Times staff writer.

Lindsey Pacela, a senior journalism and psychology major, has worked as the editor-in-chief of La Verne Magazine and news editor for the Campus Times. She is currently a staff photographer for both publications.

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