The Chapman softball team lost five of its last six games to close out the 2016 season. As was a theme for much of the season, Chapman was unable to come up with timely hitting and the Panthers were only able to score eight runs in the five losses to the University of Redlands, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and the University of La Verne, with all eight runs coming in their victory over Claremont 8-0.
The Panthers (13-25, 7-21) finished the regular season in seventh place out of eight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams. Additionally, Chapman finished sixth in runs scored in conference play with 87, which is about half of the conference leader La Verne (29-9, 25-3), who scored 173.
“I think what really hurt our team is a lack of consistency this season,” said senior second baseman Larissa Rinauro. “We’ve had good games and we’ve had bad games, but for some reason we couldn’t seem to win two in a row.”
Freshman outfielder Sydney Engelhardt agreed, citing the team’s lack of ability to get runners home once they were on base.
“We leave a lot of people on base, but also when we make a mistake on defense, sometimes we carry that over to our at-bats and don’t recover fully for a couple innings,” Engelhardt said.
Redlands (26-13, 16-11) defeated Chapman 8-3 and 6-1 in a doubleheader on April 27 at Redlands. Chapman outhit Redlands 12-8 in the game, but was unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
“We left a lot of people on base and didn’t string our hits together when we needed it,” Engelhardt said.
Chapman then traveled to Claremont (31-8-1, 24-4) April 29, where the Panthers were defeated 3-0 in the first game, but bounced back for the 8-0 victory in the second game.
Freshman pitcher Samantha Whalen tossed a complete game shutout while giving up five hits and striking out five in the six-inning win, though Chapman failed to carry over its success into the next day’s games.
The Panthers closed out their season April 30 at first-place La Verne (29-9, 25-3), losing 3-2 and 4-2. Three-time all-conference recipient, pitcher Natalie Both, pitched 4 2/3 innings in the first game and gave up three earned runs in her last collegiate game. Both leaves Chapman with 39 career wins.
Whalen also impressed again in the second game, pitching a complete game and giving up no earned runs, but she fell victim to the team’s two ill-timed errors, leading to the 4-2 loss. Whalen finished the season with a 5-10 record and 5.27 ERA in 89 innings of work.
Chapman graduates five seniors: Rinauro, Both, catcher Lisa Perez, outfielder Amy Serven and outfielder Gabrielle Leveratto.
Rinauro said all she wanted to do in her last few games was to leave everything out on the field.
“I’ve always been one that loves to dive for balls, be aggressive on the bases and get dirty, and that’s exactly what I did in the last games of my career,” she said. “I wanted to leave the field knowing I gave it my all and had fun playing the game I’ve loved since I was 5.”