|The La Verne softball team won a doubleheader against Cal State East Bay Friday, 3-0 and 9-1. In the second game the Leopards delivered six runs during the fifth inning and two in the sixth resulting in a win by the mercy rule. Kari Granger slid back to first during the fifth inning before the Pioneers’ first baseman Amanda Tietz tagged the base.
While the sun might have struggled to break through Saturday morning, the University of La Verne softball team had no problem beating down on the Cal Lutheran Regals as they were victorious in both games of the doubleheader at Hutton Field in Thousand Oaks.
La Verne outscored the Regals 12-7 in game one and added to their winning record with a 9-2 win in game two.
“We had been neck and neck with them all season,” Trisha McCormick, senior outfielder said.
“We definitely needed both these wins,” McCormick said.
With La Verne adding two wins to their record, these games helped take the Regals out of the contention for the Southern California Intercolleg-iate Athletic Conference tournament.
The sweep puts the Leopards back at the .500 mark with a 10-10 record in SCIAC play and a 20-16 record overall.
La Verne had struggled to win on the road with a disappointing record of 2-12.
The main purpose of the Leopards win was the ability to execute their offensive game with 21 runs and 35 hits in just two games.
“This was an exciting game and win for us,” Delaney Baylor-Dick, a freshman pitcher said.
“The team worked together as a whole,” Baylor-Dick said. “Usually we are missing one component of the game, whether it be hitting or fielding. But in this game all the components were there.”
At the first pitch of game one, both teams were already on their way to making offensive strides.
At the end of the first inning the Leopards and the Regals were tied, 3-3.
But senior Jodi Lindsay answered back in the second with a three-run triple to give help the Leopards gain a four-run advantage.
Cal Lu only managed to score one run in the third and left the bases loaded to end the inning.
The turning point came in the fourth inning when La Verne broke away.
They scored three more times and finished off Cal Lu by adding two runs in the seventh.
La Verne maintained their hitting streak, totaling 15 hits overall for game one.
Lindsay went 3-for-3, while junior Lynsey Padilla and freshman Mandy Brenner each collected two RBIs.
Senior pitcher Karina Ortiz pitched five innings of relief, which earned her the win.
Additionally, the team’s defense was solid.
“Our pitchers are supporting each other, which helps everyone defensively,” McCormick said.
“Although our offensive side shined on Saturday, it was our defense that clinched it.”
As game two got underway, La Verne stuck to the same strategy.
The Leopards connected the bat to ball and let their offense continue to shine as they recorded 20 hits in game two.
Junior Kari Granger started off the second inning and found herself on first as the ball traveled down the left side.
Sophomore catcher Jessica Ortega then had a sacrifice bunt, which advanced Granger to second.
And with an RBI double by freshman shortstop Ashley Paul, the score quickly became 2-0.
Lindsay took the plate and singled which advanced Paul to third, and with another RBI-double that was hit by Padilla, the Leopards found a 4-0 cushion after the second.
It was little too late for the Regals who didn’t get up on the board until the sixth inning making the score, 6-2.
La Verne added three more runs in the seventh making the final score 9-2, which clinched the team’s first sweep away from home.
“It just goes to show us that we can sweep whoever we want, if we play our ball,” McCormick said.
In the second game, pitcher Baylor-Dick pitched an impressive game, holding the Regals to only two runs on two hits, which allowed her to notch her third win of the season.
Baylor-Dick who sat out most of the beginning half due to an injury is learning how to transition from the high school game to the college level.
“I was so happy when we won, it made me feel really good,” Baylor-Dick said.
As a freshman from Covina, Baylor-Dick is learning that Division III softball is different from high school.
“College is so much more competitive,” Baylor-Dick said. “Instead of trying to strike people out like in high school, I just try not to let any batters get on base.”
Sticking to this game plan Baylor-Dick pitched a full seven innings and face 21 batters.
She struck out four and only allowed two hits and two runs on the day.
“We’ve beat them (Cal Lu) four times this year,” Ortiz said. “But if we win this weekend, that will be much bigger.”
Prior to the Cal Lu series, La Verne came off a sweep against Cal State East Bay the previous day.
La Verne shut out East Bay 3-0 in game one and dominated 9-1 in game two.
The second game started with intensity as both the Leopards and Pioneers were tied 1-1 heading into the fifth inning.
However, when ULV scored six runs in the fifth inning and scored two runs in the sixth inning, the game was called on the mercy rule.
Padilla tallied three RBIs while Paul and freshman Mandy Brenner each collected two hits and Granger added a two-run triple that highlighted the six-run fifth inning for the Leopards.
Senior pitcher Jessica McLaughlin, Ortiz and Baylor-Dick once again contained the Pioneer offensive attack allowing one run on four hits.
Right now ULV is preparing and focusing toward the SCIAC tournament, which only allows the top four conference teams to participate.
“Our goal right now is making the SCIAC tournament for the seniors,” Baylor-Dick said. “I want to help them get there, because that would be really exciting and I know how bad they want it.”
However, before they can make it to the tournament the Leopards will have to get some wins and hope the other competing conference teams fall short in their final games.
The Leopards will head to Eagle Rock to face Occidental today at 2 p.m. La Verne will host Whittier at Wheeler Park Saturday at noon.
Jennifer Gilderman can be reached at email@example.com.