LA VERNE, Calif. — Coming off back-to-back Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships, the La Verne softball team will try to earn the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship as it opens the SCIAC Postseason Tournament against Chapman on Friday at 2 p.m.
La Verne will host the double-elimination tournament from May 5-7. The other first round matchup features Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Whittier.
The Leopards won the 2016 championship but fell short in the tournament and just missed out on an at-large bid to the national championship tournament.
All games for the SCIAC Softball Postseason Tournament will be broadcasted through the SCIAC portal. Live streams will be free of charge. Fans can also find updated results by visiting the tournament's central website.
RECAPPING THE REGULAR SEASON
La Verne clinched back-to-back championships and ninth overall in program history with a 20-8 SCIAC record (27-11 overall). The Leopards did it with balanced hitting and pitching, scoring the most runs of any team in the SCIAC (193) and allowing the second fewest runs (121) for the best run differential of +72. At the end of the season, Alexis Schiff was named SCIAC Athlete of the Year and five other players were named All-SCIAC.
AT THE PLATE
For the second year in a row, La Verne boasts the most potent offense in the SCIAC. The Leopards topped the conference in runs (193), home runs (38), doubles (62), RBI (180), batting average (.296) and slugging percentage (.480). The lineup is anchored by Athlete of the Year Schiff, who led the league in virtually every offensive cateogry. She led the SCIAC in batting average (.393), on-base percentage (.507), slugging percentage (.879), home runs (14), RBI (35) and runs (40). Her 14 homers ranks third in NCAA Division III.
IN THE CIRCLE
The Leopards have a two-headed ace in Hayley Jaquess and Elisa Ponce, both of whom were selected to First Team All-SCIAC. Jaquess went 10-5 with nine complete games and a 2.16 ERA. Ponce posted a 11-4 record with eight complete games and 78 strikeouts while posting a 2.37 ERA.
Against Chapman this season, Jaquess tossed 14 innings while giving up just one run and striking out eight.
CLAREMONT-MUDD-SCRIPPS QUICK HITS
• The Athenas finished runner-up to the Leopards for the second straight year, finshing with a conference record of 18-10
• Anna Gurr was named the SCIAC Pitcher of the Year after going 14-6 with a 0.63 ERA and 120 strikeouts; she also recorded a league-high five saves
WHITTIER QUICK HITS
• The Poets come in to the tournament as perhaps the hottest team, with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games including a sweep of the Leopards
• Brianna Alvarez led the SCIAC with a staggering 45 stolen bases on the season; and Marialena Ahern has been bringing Alavarez home with seven home runs and 14 doubles
CHAPMAN QUICK HITS
• Chapman's been just as hot, winning the season's last four games including a sweep of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps to claim the last ticket to the postseason
• Michaela Foisy leads the attack, batting .373 with 28 runs and 29 stolen bases