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Nine Chapman softball seniors holding flowers.
Softball seniors (photo by Larry Newman)

Softball clinches No. 2 seed with series win over La Verne

ORANGE, Calif. – With a doubleheader split with La Verne, the Chapman University softball team clinched a spot in next week's SCIAC Tournament. After falling 6-3 in the first game, the Panthers clinched the series and the No. 2 seed in the postseason tournament with 4-1 win in game two.

With Pomona-Pitzer sweeping Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the Panthers ended the regular season tied with La Verne and claim the No. 2 seed after winning this weekend's series 2-1. The Panthers and Leopards will face off again on Friday.

Game 1 – L, 6-3

La Verne scored four runs in the top of the first and held on for the victory to claim its spot in the SCIAC Tournament. Kelly McCarty pitched 3.1 strong innings in relief, allowing just two runs on six hits.

Chapman cut the lead in half in the third when Peyton Mattson's grounder to third scored Allie Tajii. Mattson reached and moved up to second on an error. Ilianna Serna knocked her in with a double to deep left field.

The Leopards responded with a couple of runs in the fourth to push the lead back to four but Chapman responded with one more in the bottom half. Morgan Lastinger led off with a double and moved up to third on an error. She jogged home on a Rani Lauwers single to make it 6-3.

The pitchers settled in over the final three frames. Simi Lauwers tossed three hitless innings to end the game but Katheryn Navarro matched her for La Verne to even the series.

Game 2 – W, 4-1

Lauwers continued into the second game, getting the start and cruising through the first few innings. With Rachel Rubio in the circle for the Leopards, the Panthers used a four-run rally in the third inning to extend their season into next weekend.

Three strong innings from Lauwers kept the game scoreless heading into the bottom of the third. Grace Fosselman led off with a single and Tajii pushed a bunt passed the crashing third baseman to put runners on first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up and the Leopards foiled the Panthers squeeze attempt as the third baseman tagged out Fosselman.

Serna came to the plate and delivered a two-run, two-out single to put Chapman ahead 2-0. Annika Briski singled to keep the inning alive and Julia Muniz lined a double into the left center gap for another two-out, two-RBI hit.

Lauews ran into trouble with two outs in the fourth after a single and double brough home La Verne's first run. Friday's winning pitcher, Jillian Kelly, entered to shut down the rally.

She quickly got the inning ending fly ball into center and went on to retire the first eight batters she faced, taking her into the seventh inning. She issued a walk in the seventh with one out and struck out the next batter for the second out. A dribbler up the third base line looked to extend the inning but a charging Serna made a perfect throw on the run to end the game and extend Chapman's season.

The Panthers and Leopards will square off for the fourth game in a row on Friday. As the top seed, Redlands will host the SCIAC Tournament next Friday through Sunday. Pomona-Pitzer will be the No. 4 seed after sweeping Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.


By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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