The softball team ended its season in fifth place after losing the first two games of its postseason run May 5 and 6.
The Panthers took on top-seeded University of La Verne in the first game of the conference tournament May 5. With a home-field advantage, the Leopards’ overtook the Panthers for a 5-0 win. The Panthers went on to play Whittier May 6 in a must-win matchup and lost 10-8, which ended their season.
“I just think we had a lot of trouble adjusting to La Verne’s pitching,” said junior infielder Kristen Weiser. “They threw a lot of pitches in the corner. Last weekend against (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) and (the University of) Redlands, we adjusted really well to their pitching, but we just didn’t have our strongest day hitting against La Verne. On top of that, they’ve always been a really good hitting team. We tried to cut them down from scoring on defense, but you just can’t beat a good hitting team without hitting well against them too.”
While Chapman and La Verne (20-8, 27-11) split their four matchups this season with two wins and losses each, La Verne managed to take control of the game almost immediately, scoring the game’s first run in the first inning. Scoring cooled down after that until the Leopards managed another run in the bottom of the fifth to bring the score to 2-0.
“We fought hard until the last inning,” said freshman pitcher Sarah Hartmann. “We (will) use the loss as motivation to train harder (in the off season) so we can win the whole thing next year.”
The top of the sixth showed promise for the Panthers when freshman infielder Michaela Foisy hit a single followed by a walk for Sumida, leading to players on first and second. On a passed ball, both advanced a base but, ultimately, the Panthers struck out and headed to the bottom of the sixth, when the Leopards tacked on three more runs, bringing the final score to 5-0.
In the must-win game against Whittier – due to softball’s double-elimination postseason structure – the Panthers started the game with strong pitching and hitting before things began to unravel for them in the third inning.
After going up 6-0, the Panthers gave up five hits and committed two errors, leading to an eight-run inning for the Poets that saw them undo Chapman’s lead.
Chapman responded with three hits and a run in the fourth inning, but the Panthers were unable to close the scoring gap as Whittier sealed the 10-8 win, ending Chapman’s postseason.
“In the third inning, Whittier got nine runs, and it started with an error. That may have thrown us off mentally,” Weiser said. “They also got a couple great hits, but it was a combination of that and a couple errors. We just had one bad inning that we couldn’t make up for. A lot of times when you go down by nine runs, you sometimes want to just give up. But I was really proud of the way the team fought back.”
As the only senior on Chapman’s roster, infielder Amber Perez will be the only graduating member of the team.
Doug Close contributed to this report.