Leopards split with Firebirds on opening day

Leopards split with Firebirds on opening day

LA VERNE, CA — Katheryn Navarro finished with three RBI and a win in the circle and Gabriella Underwood shined in her Leopard debut as the University of La Verne softball team split with St. Katherine on the opening day of the 2019 season.

Game One: St. Katherine 13, La Verne 10

The Leopards finished with 13 hits but couldn't overcome a huge fourth inning from the Firebirds in Tuesday's opener. Navarro led La Verne with three RBI in the effort with Sienna Kendricks driving in two runs off three hits. 

Underwood made her addition on the Leopard squad known in her first at bat in the green and orange. The La Verne native and University of Dallas transfer doubled off the fence in her first trip to the plate and followed it up in the third inning with another double that scored Francheska Juarez to put La Verne up 3-1.

But the Firebirds got on a roll in the fourth inning scoring 11 runs sparked by a leadoff home run by Arynna Rivera and highlighted by a Kendi Swinton grand slam the put St. Katherine up 12-3. La Verne chipped away at the deficit, scoring four runs off four hits in the bottom half of the inning and scored two more in the fifth off a sacrifice fly by Navarro and an Ashley Soto single that scored senior Carly Condon.

The Leopards scored another run in the seventh but couldn't close the gap. Karly Turner picked up the win for the Firebirds and Jiana Rojo took the loss.

Game Two: La Verne 5, St. Katherine 3

In game two of the doubleheader, the Leopards surged ahead in the fourth inning and held off a late push by the Firebirds in the sixth to salvage the split.

In the bottom of the fourth tied 1-1, Underwood continued to show off her power, hitting a solo shot to put the Leopards back on top. Later in the inning with the bases juiced, the Leopards caught a break when a wild pitch sent Justice Borden across the plate. With runners on second and third, Soto singled to right field, bringing in newcomer Kayla Giannatasio and junior Shelby Tevis for the 5-1 advantage.

Rivera hit a two-run shot in the sixth to make the game interesting, but the Firebirds couldn't muster any more offense in the seventh, going three-up, three-down in the final inning.

Navarro picked up the complete game win, finishing with four strikeouts. Kaitlyn Bailey took the loss.

Next Game

The Leopards are back in action on Saturday, February 9 when they host the Whitworth Pirates in a doubleheader beginning at noon.

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