Ponce no-hits Whittier to keep Leopards alive

LA VERNE, Calif. — Elisa Ponce fired her first-ever no-hitter, Angelica DeAngelo slammed two home runs and the La Verne softball team staved off elimination from the 2017 SCIAC Postseason Touranment with an 8-0 run rule win over Whittier on Saturday at Campus West.

La Verne will face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tomorrow at noon. The Leopards need to beat the undefeated Athenas in that game and again later in the afternoon to win the double-elimination tournament and receive the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship tournament.

Ponce (12-5) shook off her tough start against the Athenas in the winners' semifinal earlier in the day like it didn't happen. The junior struck out five batters and didn't allow much hard contact all game. She did walk seven batters but that was by design, as the Leopards wanted to pitch around in certain situations. 

DeAngelo had a career day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a pair of 2-run homers to carry the offense. She sent one over the center field fence in the top of the third inning to put the Leopards up 6-0 and put the run-rule in play with another blast in the top of the fourth.

Michelle Deguzman also went yard, going opposite field for a solo homer with two outs in the top of the second. The homer sparked 2-out rally as the Leopards loaded the bases after the Deguzman shot and Rachel Ogata came through with a clutch single to drive in two runs, giving the Leopards a 4-0 lead.

Alexis Schiff, who was walked in all seven plate appearances at Whittier on April 28, was given a free pass—all intentional—in her first three appearances today. But with the game out of hand, Whittier elected to pitch to her in the fifth inning and Schiff nearly drove the first pitch out of the park but the ball died at the warning track.

Samantha Blum (11-12) was tagged with the loss after giving up five runs in two innings.

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