ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University softball team celebrated its three seniors prior to its final home doubleheader but dropped a pair of back and forth games to Redlands. The Panthers fell 11-8 in the first game before suffering a a heartbreaking 9-8 loss in 10 innings in the nightcap.
Game 1 – L, 11-8
Chapman (15-23, 8-18 SCIAC) went ahead early after a big first inning brought in five runs. Senior Kristen Weiser provided a big spark in the first as she one-hopped the fence in left center with the bases loaded to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead. Sophomore Kyra Gallego and Christine LoVerde followed with RBI-singles to push the lead to 5-2.
Senior Sarah Taketa, who started in the circle, cruised through the next three innings but ran into trouble in the fifth. After Lali Garza's single made it 5-3, sophomore Sarah Hartmann took over on the rubber. The Bulldogs' knocked in another run with a sacrifice fly but Hartmann worked out of the jam with the Panthers still out in front.
It was Hartmann who put the Panthers back up three runs in the bottom half. With two one and two outs, she came to the plate for her third career at-bat and struck a fly ball into right that sailed just over the right fielder and rolled to the fence for a two-RBI triple.
In the sixth, Redlands rallied again. The Bulldogs hit four consecutive singles to close the gap to 7-6. Jaci Sanchez put an exclamation mark on the rally with a three-run homer, putting Redlands up 9-7.
Redlands added two more in the seventh after Taketa singled in a run in the sixth for the Panthers.
Four different Panthers had two-hit games with Weiser's three RBIs leading the team at the plate. Senior Rhiannon Geving went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Game 2- L, 9-8 (10 innings)
Both teams fought out of deficits and took late leads but it was Redlands that pulled ahead in the 10th inning to capture the win. The lead changed three times. The Panthers tied the game in the seventh and had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the 10th before the dust settled on a Bulldogs win.
Chapman's three seniors went a combined 6-for-13 at the plate with four RBIs and two runs scored. Geving knocked in a pair of runs and LoVerde had three hits.
Geving gave the Panthers the initial lead as she singled in Taketa in the third. After Redlands put up three runs in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead, Taketa singled in the tying run in the bottom half of the sixth. Whalen later drew a bases loaded walk and Geving singled in one more for a 6-4 lead.
However, the Bulldogs fought back in the seventh with the help of a couple of Panther errors. Sanchez tied the game with a two-run single and the go-ahead run came across on an error. Chapman answered in the seventh as LoVerde led off with a perfect push bunt to the right side for a single. Weiser came up next and hit another towering fly ball to left center, scoring LoVerde from first. The Panthers were able to get the winning run to third but the Bulldogs caught down one runner at the plate after a short pickle and escaped the jam before the winning run could come home.
Neither team created much a scoring chance in the eighth and ninth until the international tiebreaker came into effect in the 10th. Redlands executed a sacrifice bunt and followed with an infield single for its first run. Julianne Rodriguez stole second, scampered to third when the throw down skipped into center and scored on a sacrifice fly for a 9-7 Redlands lead.
Taketa drew a walk to start the Panthers' 10th to put two on with no out. Junior Samantha Whalen later hit a long fly ball to the gap in left center, scoring junior Elizabeth Runge from second easily. Taketa followed down the line but the relay in from the outfield just beat her to the plate for the second out of the inning and the Panthers came up just short in another comeback attempt.
Chapman wraps up its season tomorrow when it heads to Pomona-Pitzer for a noon doubleheader.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director