Softball clinches tourney spot in split with La Verne

Sarah Hartmann high fives a teammate.
Sarah Hartmann (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University softball team clinched a spot in the upcoming SCIAC Tournament with a doubleheader split against La Verne on Friday. The Panthers (17-21, 16-10 SCIAC) won the first game 2-1 but fell 6-4 in the second game.

Game 1 – W, 2-1

Junior Sarah Hartmann needed just 74 pitches to claim her fifth win of the year with an outstanding effort in the circle. She walked none and gave up just one run on five hits in her third complete game of the season. She allowed just one extra base hit in the effort.

With the win, the Panthers locked up a spot in the SCIAC Tournament next week as either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed. Chapman can clinch the third seed with just one win tomorrow on Senior Day against Redlands.

The Panthers took a lead in the bottom of the third without the benefit of a hit. Junior Michaela Foisy drew a walk to open the inning and stole second. When senior Samantha Whalen's flare down the right field line was caught in foul territory, Foisy took off for third. The throw to attempt to catch her at third bounced past the third baseman and Foisy continued home for the early 1-0 lead.

The Panthers kept going in the second when senior Hope Ballard cashed in a run with two on and two out. She shot a line drive up the middle to score junior Sarah Sumida from second or the 2-0 lead.

After allowing three singles in the first two innings, Hartmann quickly cruised through the third and fourth. In the fifth, the Leopards' got on the scoreboard on Gabriella Underwood's RBI-double that landed just inside the right field line.

Hartmann retired the next seven batters in order after the RBI-double to close out the win.

Game 2 – L, 6-4

The Leopards jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, which the Panthers couldn't erase in the split. The Leopards hit a few seeing eye singles to load the bases with no outs and cashed in three runs before the inning was over. Chapman cut down one run at the plate and sophomore Mykala Tokunaga abruptly ended the inning when she picked a line drive out of the air and stepped on first for an unassisted double play.

The Panthers weren't without chances as they left eight runners on base throughout the game, including leaving the bases loaded in the first after falling behind. In the second, junior Heaven Wong came around to score on junior Christine LoVerde's infield single but Foisy was caught at the plate trying to take an extra base.

A couple of errors and a double from Shelby Tevis brought two more runs across the plate for La Verne in the third while a leadoff triple and a sacrifice fly scored another in the fifth.

Freshman Jessica Kim allowed just the one run in the fifth in four relief innings. She gave up six hits but did not issue a walk.

The Panthers had the bats going in the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate as they put together their biggest threat after the first inning. After Foisy was hit by a pitch and moved to third on LoVerde's single, the Panthers had runners on the corners and not outs. LoVerde took off for second and the catcher's throw sailed into center field, allowing Foisy to score.

LoVerde scored all the way from second when Tokunaga beat out an infield single. With one out, the Leopards made an error and then were called for obstruction as Tokunaga rounded second to put two in scoring position and the tying run at the plate. Tokunaga scored on a groundout to make it 6-4 with two outs and a runner on third. Senior Elizabeth Runge hit a grounder down the third base line but a diving stop and perfect throw robbed Runge of extra bases and ended the game.

The Panthers will celebrate five seniors tomorrow prior to the noon first pitch against Redlands in the final regular season doubleheader of the year.

By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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