Saturday was a memorable day for the La Verne softball team, as it wrapped up the regular season with a two game sweep of the Occidental Tigers, 12-3 in game one and 4-2 in game two, earning a trip to the post-season tournament.
Before game one, senior outfielder Melissa Carlson and former players Jodi Lindsay and Lynsey Padilla, now assistant coaches, were named to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference All-Decade team.
“I was shocked,” Carlson said. “I didn’t know that they did (All-Decade teams).”
Carlson was also honored during the senior day celebration.
“I loved being with the girls, the bus rides, the practices and the friends I made,” Carlson said.
The Leopards wasted no time in game one as outfielder Dee Dee Burns had an RBI single to score Carlson.
In the bottom of the second inning shortstop Ashley Paul hit a grand slam to put La Verne up, 6-0.
La Verne almost relinquished the lead after allowing three runs in the top half of the third inning, but the Leopards responded with three runs in the bottom of third and three more in the bottom of the fifth.
Scoring early is something head coach Julie Smith wants to see happen more often.
“We have to start scoring early and hold the lead,” Smith said.
Game two was a much closer contest, as the first two innings were scoreless.
The Leopards struck first with a two-run double to right centerfield by Paul.
The Tigers would come back scoring one run in the top of the fifth and one in the top of the sixth.
Occidental had an opportunity to close out La Verne but stranded the winning runs on base in the top of the seventh inning.
Pitcher Brittney Flores started off the bottom half of the seventh with a single to left field, which brought catcher Daryn Schivley to the plate to represent the winning run.
Schivley homered to give her team a 4-2 walk-off victory.
“I was just trying to see-ball, hit-ball,” Schivley said.
“I was doing it for the team,” she added.
For the Leopards there is not much time to celebrate, as those two victories gave them the No. 3 seed in the SCIAC postseason tournament.
“It gives us good momentum,” Carlson said. “It lets us know we can get through adversity.”
La Verne will play Redlands in Claremont today at 11:30 a.m.
“We get better as the season goes on,” Smith said. “We don’t get mentally tired, we get mentally tougher.”
Elsie Ramos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.