The La Verne softball team welcomed the Wildcats of St. Catherine with more than just handshakes; it swept the Wildcats Sunday afternoon, making it four straight wins for the Leopards.
La Verne began its streak against Occidental on Saturday and that proved to be confidence booster that carried through the weekend.
“We just had that fire in us,” said junior shortstop Ashley Paul. “I think we are determined now that it’s getting closer to the end of season.”
With two wins over Occidental, La Verne improved to 5-5 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
“The girls have been holding it in,” assistant coach Jodi Lindsey said. “We have been waiting for their breakout moment.”
The Leopards started the two-game series against St. Catherine with a huge first inning.
Ready to show the out-of-state team no mercy, the Leopards capitalized on two Wildcats errors with a home-run by freshman Brittney Flores to end the first inning with six runs on the scoreboard.
After a solid top half of the inning by junior pitcher Delaney Baylor, striking out two of the three Wildcat hitters, the bats were still hot in the bottom half of the second inning.
Paul led the inning off with a double to centerfield and eventually scored on a wild pitch by Wildcats pitcher Sarah McLennan.
Hoping to change the pace of the game, St. Catherine head coach Madge Makowske replaced McLennan with Morgan Bohmbach.
She kept the Leopards at a distance until the bottom of the fourth inning when Melissa Carlson started the inning with a double followed by a Dee Dee Burns two-run homer.
Since the Wildcats could not put any numbers on the scoreboard, the game was stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.
The final score of the first game was 10-0, the second straight mercy win for the Leopards who beat Occidental 8-0 on Saturday.
“We know we have had our ups and downs, so we wanted to show an out-of-state team who we are,” Baylor said.
“We have players on our team that at any moment could pull through for us in big ways,” Lindsey said.
The Leopards continued their triumph in the second game hosted at Wheeler Park with a 7-1 victory. A strong start was ignited in the first inning with big hits by Burns and Flores.
The three-run lead helped the Leopards capitalize on errors by the Wildcats to close out the game with a win.
Courtney Thomsen pitched seven innings giving up 2 hits and one earned run.
Paul went 4-for-4 at the plate including one RBI and Burns chipped in with two hits and three RBIs.
“Every game we lost, we’ve noticed we have always been missing a piece to the puzzle,” Baylor said. “If we start out strong, we finish strong.”
The Leopards especially hope to continue their winning streak because the end of the season is approaching.
“If we play the way we played this weekend, we will take SCIAC,” Baylor said.
“With four wins in a row, the girls are confident,” Lindsey said. “We want to take that confidence and momentum and carry it on to the next games.”
The Leopards will travel to Pomona-Pitzer for a doubleheader at noon Saturday and then face off against Redlands for a doubleheader at 2 p.m. April 9 at Wheeler Park.
Ashley Morgado can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.