Softball completes comeback to sweep Whittier

Christine Lo Verde hits the ball.
Christine Lo Verde (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University softball team stayed perfect in the month of April, sweeping the visiting Whittier College Poets 5-2, 10-9 earlier this afternoon. The Panthers were led by a couple of seniors in the box, in the circle and in the field. Samantha Whalen earned her second win of the season as pitcher and Christine LoVerde hit 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs.

Game 1 – Chapman 5, Whittier 2

The Panthers took an early lead when freshman Mykala Tokunaga singled to right center, scoring junior Michaela Foisy and giving Chapman a 1-0 lead after the first.

Whalen added a couple more runs to the scoreboard when she doubled to left center with runners on first and second in the bottom of the third. Junior Samantha Tong stepped up to the plate with two outs and singled Whalen in, giving the Panthers a 4-0 lead after three.

Chapman scored its fifth and final run in the bottom of the fourth when Whalen reached on an error but still earned the RBI as senior Hope Ballard came in to score. The Poets put up two runs in the top of the fifth but Chapman stayed strong to earn their 10th conference victory.

Whalen hit 1-for-3 with three RBIs while also pitching a complete game with just five hits allowed and one strikeout. Junior Kyra Gallego led the squad from in the box, going 2-for-3 on the day.

Game 2 – Chapman 10, Whittier 9

The Panthers jumped out to an early lead again in the second game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first when Tokunaga hit a two-run homer to left field.

Whittier answered in the next inning, scoring five runs to take a three-run lead. The Poets hit back-to-back-to-back singles with the bases loaded, bringing the score to 5-2 with five innings left to play.

Tong responded in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded and two outs, the junior singled up the middle to score two runs and cut the Panthers' deficit to just one run. Whittier had another answer for the Panthers, scoring two more runs in the top of the fourth to extend their lead to 7-4.

Cue a comeback. A leadoff double from sophomore Lagi Pakola brought senior Elizabeth Runge up to the plate. Runge grounded out but advanced Pakola to third. With a runner in scoring position and one out. Foisy singled to left field to score Pakola. Lo Verde then singled to left center, scoring Foisy. After a Poet pitching change, Tokunaga reached first on an error, scoring Lo Verde and tying the score at seven.

A solid top of the fifth inning from junior pitcher Sarah Hartmann brought the Panthers up again in the bottom half of the inning. With runners on second and third and no outs, freshman Tracie Okumura singled up the middle, scoring both runners to take the lead. A couple of outs later, Lo Verde tallied her second RBI of the game as she singled in Runge to give Chapman a three-run cushion heading into the sixth.

Whittier scored two runs in the top of the sixth, cutting its deficit to just one run. After a scoreless bottom half of the sixth, Hartmann pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seventh with a fly out and a couple of ground outs to give Chapman the 10-9 victory and the sweep of the Poets.

The Panthers return to El Camino Real Park on Saturday, April 20 to host Pomona-Pitzer in a SCIAC doubleheader.

by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant

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