The University of Redlands softball team won both games of its doubleheader against Whittier College in walk-off fashion, 9-1 and 11-3. With its win in the second game, the Maroon and Gray captured its fifth straight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship.
Prior to the start of game one, the Bulldogs recognized senior second baseman/shortstop Dory Baga (Aiea, HI), senior outfielder Roxy Lambert (La Jolla, CA) and senior outfielder Jennie Fregoso (Bloomington, CA) for their years of service to the program.
Redlands wasted little time getting on the board as the team hung three runs on the Poets in the first inning. Junior outfielder Kayla Peterson (San Jose, CA) scored on a single by freshman catcher/third baseman Lindsay Henry (Lake Elsinore, CA) through the right side, and junior pitcher/designated player Amanda Doeppel (Monrovia, CA) pushed two across with a two-run single to right.
The Bulldog defense held in the top of the second before the Maroon and Gray overwhelmed Whittier in the bottom half of the second with five runs on six hits. Junior catcher Nicky Neumann (Fremont, CA), freshman shortstop Kai Masutani (Honolulu, HI), Peterson, sophomore first baseman/outfielder Lizett Casillas (Pomona, CA) and Baga accounted for Redlands’ run total in the frame.
After a coach’s visit at the pitcher’s circle by Whittier, Poet pitcher Amanda Webster calmed down, holding the Bulldogs scoreless in the third and fourth. Whittier scored one run in the third, putting Redlands just out of reach of downing the Poets by means of the eight-run rule.
Baga led off the fifth and ended the game with a walk-off bomb over the leftfield fence, putting the team one step closer to SCIAC glory.
Peterson, Casillas, Baga and Henry all accumulated two hits while Baga completed the hardest half of hitting for the cycle with a home run and a triple.
Junior pitcher Olivia Ellis (Colfax, CA) pitched brilliantly, allowing just one run to cross in a five-strikeout, complete-game victory.
Webster surrendered nine runs, all of which were earned, in four full innings of work for the Poets.
The back end of the doubleheader started off with Redlands exploding offensively, as the Bulldogs scored one in the first and seven in the second.
Neumann doubled to start the bottom of the first, advanced to third on a stolen base and scored on a Peterson groundout to put the Maroon and Gray up early. A costly error by the Poet third baseman gave way to seven unearned runs as the Bulldog base runners capitalized on the extended inning, taking extra bases at will. Freshman outfielder Kirstie Bender (Lakewood, CA), senior outfielder Roxy Lambert (La Jolla, CA), freshman pitcher/outfielder Breanna Ruelas (Brawley, CA), Neumann, Casillas, Peterson and Baga all touched home plate during the seven-run inning.
Whittier answered with one run in the third on two hits, but Redlands returned the blow with a two-run home run by Neumann.
Once again, the Poets fought to keep the game at seven innings as Kellie Canida launched a two-run blast over the centerfield fence to pull Whittier within seven.
After two scoreless innings, the Bulldogs took advantage on an opportunity to put the game away. Neumann walked to start off the sixth, and Peterson singled to the shortstop to place two on for Casillas. Casillas ripped a shot to the gap in right centerfield, giving Neumann plenty of time to score the winning run.
Neumann headlined game two with four runs and four RBI on three hits. Peterson also paced the offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the dish, driving in two runs while scoring once. Also providing multi-hit outings were Casillas and Ruelas.
Ellis got the ball in the second bout as well, pitching a complete game. She struck out four and allowed three runs, all of which were earned.
Heather Dady shouldered the loss for the Poets despite giving up just one earned run.
Redlands (25-10, 18-4) rounds out its regular season with a doubleheader against Pomona-Pitzer Saturday afternoon in Claremont. Game time is set for 12 noon.