After finishing a strong season, the University of La Verne softball team defeated No. 2 ranked University of Texas-Tyler, 3-1, in the first game of the NCAA West Regionals yesterday.
Senior Jessica McLaughlin got the start on the mound for La Verne and held the UTT Patriots, who are hosting the tournament, to only four hits.
UTT got its only run in the bottom of the seventh during a late rally to take the game into extra innings.
However, McLaughlin and La Verne’s defense did not allow the Patriots to score again.
In the eighth inning, the Leopards scored two runs to solidify their win.
La Verne will continue its postseason play in Texas against No. 3-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor today at noon.
Last weekend the Leopards captured the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.
After a weekend of strong playing, the Leopards were able to finish with a 3-1 record, giving them the win.
On Friday the team started off strong for the weekend.
La Verne came into the tournament as the No. 3 team in the conference, and played their first game against the No. 2 team, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
The Leopards triumphed over CMS with a 10-0 win.
La Verne gained an early lead when catcher Jessica Ortega hit a two-run homer in the second inning.
The sixth inning bummed out the Leopards even further against the Athenas.
They were able to score five runs against pitcher Julia Cruz.
Senior Lynsey Padilla and Junior Mandy Brenner each drove in a run as well.
Bringing the Leopards to their 10-0 lead was Melissa Carlson’s three-run homer.
By winning the first game, ULV had one more game Friday.
The Leopards were able to come out on top with a 4-1 lead over the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens.
The Sagehens, who had already beaten Redlands earlier in the day, started off the game with a run.
The Leopards were able to come back in the fourth inning.
Senior Jodi Lindsay was able to score and tie the game on a fielding error after her and Padilla both hit singles.
Several fielding errors by the Sagehens gave La Verne the lead.
A two-run double by Ashley Paul gave the Leopards a comfortable lead.
With two wins ending Friday, La Verne only needed one more victory over Redlands to claim the SCIAC title.
Unfortunately, Redlands took the first defeat, making both teams replay each other for the conference win.
Redlands won the first game, 3-0.
Already season champions, Redlands was looking good for the final game.
Game two, however, was probably one of the closest of the whole tournament, but it brought out on top.
The Leopards started off on the right foot by scoring two runs in the first inning.
Later, La Verne scored two more in the third, when Granger hit a two-run single scoring Lindsay and Padilla.
Redlands scored one in the bottom of the third, but freshman Corbin Henault’s bunt in the fifth gave a bigger gap to La Verne’s lead.
However, in the bottom of the fifth Redlands scored three more runs bringing the score to 5-4.
The Leopards had a scare when Redlands Kayla Peterson was coming home, but fortunately thrown out, keeping them from tying.
Marilee Lorusso contributed to this story.
Jen McElroy can be reached at email@example.com.