The University of La Verne softball team completed their season on Saturday by capping a three game sweep over Whittier.
The Leopards’ final record of 27-13, 14-4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, was good enough for a second place finish behind Redlands (18-0).
La Verne took both games on Saturday at Wheeler Park starting off with a 12-0 thrashing of the Poets in game one. The mercy rule was evoked after just five innings.
Morgan Dobis led the way for the Leopards as she belted two home runs, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs.
Kelly Silagyi added a 2-for-3, one RBI effort; Jessica DeGiacomo went 2-for-2 with one RBI and Ashley Savage batted three runs in, going 2-for-4.
Amanda Jones was close to perfect on the mound for the Leopards, only surrendering one hit and striking out two in the shutout. She finished the season with a 10-4 record.
In the second game, the Leopards went off for seven runs in the first three innings. DeGiacomo led ULV in the 7-3 victory, going 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Kathleen Salvo and Karina Ortiz’s pitching shut down the Poets. Salvo picked up the win, finishing the season with a 5-1 record.
On Friday the Leopards traveled to Whittier to spoil the Poets final home contest of the season. Mary Olson earned her ninth win of the year as she struck out two in the 7-3 win.
Jones took control going 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs knocked in. Suzy Riker was the only other Leopard with a multiple hit performance, contributing a 2-for-3 effort.
Although the team will only lose two players at the conclusion of the 2005 season, head coach Robin Haaker says losing seniors Amber Guerra and A.J. Taggart will have an impact on the team.
“Both of our seniors will be missed,” Haaker said. “They both are hard workers and they’re the first group I’ve worked with for all four years. Amber was one of the best defensive catchers in the conference and brought the solid leadership skills that the team needed. A.J. was able to play three different positions for us, she was one of the most versatile and positive players I’ve coached.”
However, Haaker still remains optimistic about next year, and thinks a more vigorous off-season training regimen will help the Leopards prepare for the 2006 season.
“We have a young team,” Haaker said. “We plan to work at a higher level next preseason, and if we improve our work ethic, we’ll be ready for SCIAC.”
Jones agreed with philosophy of an increased intensity at practice.
“We need to increase our level of intensity during practice next year.” Jones said. “If we keep our intensity up and practice hard, it’ll carry over to our games.”
Haaker said she would also like the Leopards to take a more urgent approach on offense, much like they did in the season final against Whittier.
“We really need to start putting runs on the board early,” Haaker said. “We want to be consistent and come out strong, instead of playing catch-up like we did this year.”
Dobis also agreed with Haaker’s take on offense.
“We can’t rely on power hitting all the time,” Dobis said. “Next year, we’ll need to be more consistent at the plate, get some base hits and manufacturer some runs.”
The team enjoyed some impressive victories this season, shocking its competition. One highlight from the Leopards’ come from behind victories, included an upset of Chapman, the No. 1 team in the nation, as ULV stole the victory in the last inning, 4-3.
Joseph Lovallo can be reached at email@example.com.