LV Life Editor
The Leopards fell to top ranked Redlands in a doubleheader March 10 at Wheeler Park. The Leopards lost their first game 13-3 and then lost their second game 10-1, but regained their footing after spring break with a doubleheader sweep over Hamline University, Monday at Wheeler Park.
The Leopards, a great offensive team, were held to only four runs in two games against the commanding Bulldogs’ pitchers.
“I think, in the end, we just didn’t stick to our game plan,” head coach Julie Smith said.
“It was more us not making the adjustments we needed,” sophomore Jackie Duran said.
Freshman Rebecca Ho got the start for the Leopards and started off strong only allowing one run in the first three innings.
The Leopards trailed 1-0 after three innings, until the Bulldogs brought in seven more runs in the top of the fourth.
After allowing an RBI double to Redlands outfielder Janelle Carrasco, Ho was replaced by sophomore Laura Olson.
Redlands sophomore Amanda Lievanos wasted no time and launched a three run homerun off Olson, giving the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead.
La Verne attempted a comeback in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring three runs.
Hopes of a comeback were short lived for the Leopards. La Verne brought in junior pitcher Carly Asher in the top of the fifth inning.
The Bulldogs continued where they left off and scored five more runs.
The Leopards were stifled by Bulldogs pitcher Kayla Uphold, who pitched a complete game, only gave up three runs and received the win.
Ho got the start again in the second game.
The Leopards were determined to give a better performance and stayed close for three innings.
After three innings the Leopards were trailing the Bulldogs 2-1.
The Leopards came out with more conviction in the second game and Ho looked more comfortable on the mound, but that was not enough for the hungry Bulldogs.
Ho was replaced by freshman Breeanna De La Rosa in the fourth inning where the Bulldogs scored four runs creating a nice cushion for them going into the fifth inning leading the Leopards 6-1.
Redlands scored four more runs in the fifth inning and halted the bats of the Leopards, keeping them to only one run. Redlands senior pitcher Breanna Ruelas also pitched a complete game and received the win over the Leopards, 10-1.
“We weren’t being patient,” infielder Tara Allis said. “We need to get a lot more disciplined.”
The two losses extended La Verne’s losing streak to four. It was the first time this season the Leopards lost consecutive games.
“We discussed it, every season that happens,” Smith said. “This is where they’re supposed to get stronger.”
Over spring break the Leopards traveled to Hawaii to face off against Hawai’i Pacific and BYU-Hawaii.
The Leopards split the double header against Hawai’i Pacific with the first game going to Hawai’i Pacific, 9-1 and the second game going to the Leopards, 10-5.
Later that week the Leopards lost both games to BYU-Hawaii, 10-8 and 10-5.
After returning from Hawaii, the Leopards faced Hamline Monday.
The first game was highlighted by sophomore Olson’s complete game shutout over the Pipers, which included eight strikeouts.
“Laura is starting to come in to her own,” Smith said. “She showed really good consistency.”
The Leopards scored their first run in the bottom of the second after third baseman Candice Nunez hit a single to center field that scored Duran, who walked earlier in the inning.
La Verne was able to score another run in the third inning on a hit by first basemen Raven Freret.
The Leopards scored the only other runs in the game during the bottom of the sixth after Dee Dee Burns led off the inning with a double and was immediately brought in courtesy of a home run by Freret.
The next batter grounded out to complete La Verne’s 4-0 victory and Olson’s ninth win of the season.
“My goal was to come out with a game plan and stick to it,” Olson said. “Everything was working and it went well.”
The second game displayed La Verne’s offensive strength with the team recording 16 hits.
De La Rosa battled through the first inning, allowing one unearned run.
The Leopards answered right back by scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning.
After Hamline got two hits and scored a run to start the third inning, Asher took over the pitching duties for La Verne.
A single and stolen base by Burns in the bottom of the third opened the door for Freret to earn an RBI on a single to center field.
After walking the leadoff batter in the fifth, Asher was replaced by game one winner Olson.
The Pipers scored their last run in the fifth inning after a throwing error by Nunez allowed Cassie Lopez to score from third to tie the game at five runs each.
La Verne’s bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth and added four runs to the board.
The Leopards tacked on four more runs in the sixth.
Amanda Hastings singled and scored on a double by Burns, and Burns advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Freret.
The Leopards earned a mercy-rule victory after Nunez’s single brought in Duran, who hit a single, and Freret to make the score 13-5.
Olson earned the wins for both games, which brought her pitching record to 10-1 with a 3.66 ERA.
“I think all of us together helped us win rather than one aspect,” Olson said. “We had pitching, hitting and fielding working together.”
Burns, who went 4-4 with two RBIs and scored four runs in the second game, was pleased with the team’s performance.
“It was very exciting and a great two games,” Burns said. “Some teams just roll over in the second game. We want to take our energy and excitement into our next games.”
The Leopards defeated Virginia Wesleyan Thursday at Pomona-Pitzer 5-3.
The Leopards currently hold a 14-9 overall record and 6-6 in conference play.
Up next for the Leopards is an away game against Chapman at noon tomorrow.
Christian Orozco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allison Lavelle can be reached at email@example.com.