Poets split with Leopards on Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Poets split with Leopards on Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

LA VERNE, Calif. – The Whittier College softball team who is coming off of a 2-2 spring break trip up North returned to sunny southern California only to split with the Leopards of the University of La Verne Monday afternoon. 

Whittier now improves to 15-13, 6-10 SCIAC, while La Verne drops to 16-11, 7-7 SCIAC. 

The doubleheader was in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Day where the La Verne softball program, their SAAC Council, the American Cancer Society, and the National Fast pitch Coaches Association took part in the NFCA's Strikeout Cancer Promotion.

It was an event where the goal was to raise $1,000 with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.  A special ceremony promoting Breast Cancer Awareness took place between the two games and several La Verne fans, faculty and staff took part in the "Walk To Wheeler" beginning at The Rock and concluding at Wheeler Park to demonstrate support for the cause.

The previous time these two teams met, back on February 11 the Poets were on the losing end of 15-7 and 14-8 losses.  But this time around proved to be a different story.   

Game 1 (L, 2-1)

Rebecca Ho for the La Verne Leopards narrowly missed pitching a no hitter having it spoiled in the seventh inning from freshman Samantha Mellano who drove a single to left center that drove in Cindy Loza for the Poets lone run of the game.

Whittier had a golden opportunity to tie the game up in that same inning as Xzandra Miranda-Castro stood on third base with no outs but she saw Courtney DeLano, Jordan Learn, and Alexandra Flores strike out to close the game out.

DeLano started on the mound for the Poets and was charged with her seventh loss of the season as she went a complete game giving up two runs (1 earned) on five hits to go with two strikeouts.  The two runs came for La Verne in the bottom half of the first where Freret singled to left field driving in Hastings, while Duran doubled down the left field line driving in Freret. 

This put the Leopards on top 2-0 but after that they were unable to put any more runs on the board as DeLano shut them down over the next five innings keeping the Purple & Gold in the game.  But Ho stole the show and continued to overpower the Poets keeping them scoreless and hitless through six preserving the 2-0 lead.       

Game 2 (W, 10-9)

In the second game runs came in bunches and the Leopards made a strong comeback late to push the Poets to the edge but they didn't fall holding onto the one run victory.

Junior Jessica Rosnack started on the mound for the Poets and went 7.0 innings giving up seven runs (four earned) on nine hits to go with nine strikeouts but held on for her sixth win of the season.

DeLano relieved Rosnack in the seventh and came in and surrendered two runs on two hits forcing Rosnack back into the game to shut down the Leopards, which she did recording the final three outs of the game.

Whittier jumped all over La Verne starter Breeanna De La Rosa forcing her out of the game after 5.0 innings of work after she gave up five runs on seven hits.  Her reliever Carly Asher didn't fair to well either as she also gave up five runs on six hits. 

The Purple & Gold added three runs in the second inning sparked by Miranda-Castro's double to right field.  Learn then stepped up and hit a single to the shortstop scoring Miranda-Castro.  Mercedez Cundiff then reached on an error by the center fielder and then saw Loza and Nikki Mendoza hit back to back singles that drove in the next two Poet runs. 

But Whittier didn't stop there as they added two runs in the third behind back to back singles from Mellano and Learn followed by a Cundiff double to left center.  This extended the Poet lead to 5-1 until they broke the game wide open with a five spot in the fourth. 

Mendoza led off the inning with a single and then saw back to back to back singles from Emi Shimamoto, Mickala Gonzales, and Miranda Castro that pushed two runs across.  Following the Miranda Castro single, Mellano walked giving way to a Learn single, Cundiff reaching on a fielder's choice that put three more runs on the board that some would think would put the game out of reach with the score being 10-1.

But La Verne's high powered offense came roaring back adding eight runs in the bottom half of the fifth that included two doubles and four singles that brought the Leopards within one.  But Whittier buckled down and Rosnack and DeLano shut them down over the next two innings to preserve the one run victory.

On offense Whittier was led by Learn who finished 3-4 with two runs and two RBI's, while Miranda-Castro finished 2-4 with two runs and two RBI's as well. 

Whittier now sets their sights on the Athena's of Claremont-M-S who come to Whittier College this coming Saturday, April 7 to play a doubleheader with game times slated for 12pm and 2pm.