THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The final day of the 2017 Cal Lutheran softball regular season was bittersweet for the Regals as a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament berth was on the line. A split with Pomona-Pitzer, dropping the first 3-2 before earning a 6-4 victory on senior day, ultimately ended the season with a win and a tie for fourth place in the final standings, but a tiebreaker will leave the Regals out of postseason play.
Unfortunately for the Violet and Gold, the tiebreaker between CLU and Chapman, who shared the fourth spot, goes to Chapman, putting the 2017 season in the books.
At the conclusion of play, a quartet of seniors was recognized with Amanda Lewis, Emily Manwell, Courtney Sooy and Nicole White-Madolora each being thanked for her contributions to the Department of Athletics and softball program during her time at Cal Lutheran.
In game one, the teams played two scoreless innings, prior to Pomona-Pitzer posting a pair in the top of the third to take the lead. CLU responded with one in the bottom half as Jacy Watanabe reached on an error and moved up to second on the play before swiping third base. Olivia Leyva walked and on the next pitch stole second base to put a pair in scoring position for Sooy. The senior pitcher lined a sacrifice fly to left field, which required a really nice play for the catch, plating Watanabe to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
An unearned run for the Sagehens in the top of the fourth was countered in the bottom of the frame as Antonia Rapisardi and Abbigael Howard connected for a back-to-back single and double, respectively, with one down. Makenna Pellerin also lined a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Rapisardi, closing the gap to 3-2 after four full innings, but late life came up short. CLU stranded three runners in scoring position over the final three frames and could not push anything else across the plate.
Outfield defense continued to shine with consecutive diving catches from Lewisand Watanabe for the first two outs in the top of the sixth before Sooy sat down the final out looking at strike three.
Both teams notched seven hits. Leyva finished 3-for-3 with a walk and three stolen bases for Cal Lutheran.
In the final start of her four-year career, Sooy (7-10) threw a complete game, allowing two earned runs while striking out two in the loss.
Game two saw more unusual calls and plays than the team has seen all season on both sides of the ball, but CLU capitalized. Each team collected nine hits and PP had two errors while CLU committed one in another evenly matched battle.
Lewis laced a triple down the right field line to lead off the bottom of the second and came in to score on a Rapisardi RBI single for an early 1-0 advantage.
Pomona-Pitzer responded with a pair in the top of the third, though both were unearned after two interference calls were followed by three hits, two of which drove in runs.
In the bottom half, the Regals broke things open with three runs of their own to take a 4-2 lead. Mikaela Mayhew reached on an error to start things off. Slabaugh walked and Watanabe hustled out an infield single to load the bases for Leyva who drove in two with a single. Lewis landed on first base on a fielder's choice and the duo executed a delayed double-steal with Leyva sliding across the plate for the third run of the frame.
PP pushed across two more in the top of the fifth to knot things back up with an RBI single and the tying run coming on a wild pitch that turned into the final out of the inning.
When the Regals stepped back into the box, the Violet and Gold got hot with a leadoff single from Watanabe, a single from Leyva and a perfectly executed sacrifice from Sooy to move the runners up. Lewis drove in Watanabe and Howard used a sac fly to score Leyva for another two-run advantage at 6-4.
Though the visiting squad had opportunities in both the sixth and seventh, White-Madolora, in her final collegiate appearance, worked 2.0 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and not allowing a run while earning the second save of her career, which both came this season. White-Madolora relieved Brittany Workman (4-2) who also threw 2.0 innings, striking out one and allowing two runs while earning the win. Olivia Serrano got the start and went 3.0 innings, not surrendering an earned run, but got a no decision.
Lewis, Leyva and Watanabe each had two hits in season finale. Leyva drove in two while scoring twice, Lewis scored once and drove in one run and Watanabe scored a run. Leyva also stole two more bases and Lewis and Mayhew each swiped one. Mayhew also reached base three times in the game. Manwellmade her final appearance for CLU as well, pinch hitting for the Regals.
Cal Lutheran (17-19, 14-14 SCIAC) matched its 2016 win total and 2015 conference standing by finishing tied for fourth. CLU bids farewell to four seniors, but will return a strong core of players in 2018.
Box Score: PP 3, CLU 2
Box Score: CLU 6, PP 4
CLU Instagram: http://instagram.com/clusports#
Softball Instagram: http://instagram.com/regals_softball/
CLU Twitter: https://twitter.com/clusports
Softball Twitter: https://twitter.com/CLUSoftball
CLU Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clusports
Hashtags: #clusports #ownthethrone #goregals