Softball still in contention

Posted April 20, 2007
Rhiannon Mim
During La Verne’s fourth inning game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, center fielder Morgan Dobis, named SCIAC Female Athlete of the Week on April 4, caught a fly ball for the final out. The Leopards fell short to the Sagehens in two consecutive games, 4-5 and 5-6. Against Menlo, ULV dominated both games, 12-2 and 13-4, bringing their overall record to 17-15.

With lingering hopes of capturing a conference title, the softball team faced Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Menlo in home games April 13-14.

However, the Leopards dropped both games to the Athenas, 5-4 and 6-5, before handily winning their doubleheader against Menlo, 12-2 and 13-4.

In the first series, La Verne entered with aspirations of moving ahead in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings against a competitive CMS team.

“We were confident coming into the series with Claremont,” said senior infielder Suzy Riker. “But, the (Athenas) are the kind of team that keeps coming back in games.”

Despite trailing in both games, the Athenas climbed back with winning hits and runs in the last inning of each game.

In game one, ULV lead 3-2 going into the seventh inning when Claremont retook the lead with three runs on three hits, with two of those runs coming on a fielder’s choice.

Later in game two, the Leopards and Athenas were tied, 5-5, and forced the game into five more innings.

In the 11th inning, Claremont finally broke the deadlock with a single by freshman outfielder Nicole Nakata that scored the winning run.

ULV was unable to capitalize on several runs throughout the game as they left a total of 10 runners on base in game two.

“They were both tough losses,” said sophomore pitcher Kelly Ince.

“The team as a whole really wanted to beat Claremont and it was really heartbreaking to lose those two,” Ince said.

La Verne was able to bounce back the next day with strong wins against Menlo (7-15).

In game one, the Leopards’ starter Mary Olson held the Oaks to only two runs on three hits while also striking out three.

The ULV offense exploded for 12 runs on 10 hits, capped off by home runs by first baseman Jodi Lindsay and infielder Lynsey Padilla.

The same pattern emerged in game two as La Verne was hitting on all cylinders which included on offense, pitching and fielding.

The Leopards took control early in game two, scoring eight runs on six hits, which included Lindsay driving in two in the first and second innings.

Pitchers Jessica McLaughlin and Karina Ortiz combined to keep the Oaks to four runs on five hits in five innings of play.

La Verne seemed to rebound masterfully from its offensive woes against CMS, as the team cruised to 25 runs in the two wins against Menlo.

“We couldn’t do anything about the losses before,” Padilla said. “We just had to prove to Menlo that we are still a team to beat.”

Currently La Verne (17-15, 10-6) is in third place in SCIAC standings, with four conference match ups left.

The Leopards will host Cal Lutheran (19-10, 13-5) today in a crucial two-game set.

The series has conference implications as the Regals currently rank ahead of ULV in second place.

Following Cal Lu, the Leopards will play Occidental at home in a weekend doubleheader before finishing the season on the road with games against Whittier and Pomona-Pitzer.

Galo Pesantes can be reached at gpesantes@ulv.edu.

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