Softball wins SCIAC championship
April 14, 2000
Two huge wins over Occidental College, 8-0 and 3-0, clinched the conference
championship for the Leopards and catapulted them into the Division III
regional playoffs last weekend.
The team was in a must-win situation. A loss in either game would have
put Redlands in and left the Leopards out.
"It was a total team effort. There are no limits for those who
believe," head coach Julie Kline said of her team's key victories over
The Leopards came out of the dugout ready to face the challenge. Not
even the heckling from the Occidental fans was enough to distract the Leopards
from their mission.
Freshmen pitcher/catcher Gina Meza and junior catcher Kadie Tillema
each had two hits, and the Leopards scored three runs in the first inning
and five in the fifth inning.
"We just started hitting," said senior designated hitter Jennifer
Thompson. "We were just hitting and making plays."
The pitching of sophomore Lacey Cramer was the key element in the Leopards'
victory. Cramer had five strikeouts and only allowed two hits in the first
game, called short in the fifth inning.
Good hitting and solid defense secured the victory for La Verne as it
prepared for an even bigger game.
The shutout victory by Cramer in the first game gave ULV much needed
momentum. But the pressure was back on the sophomore pitcher who had to
take the mound again for the second game.
"I felt good. We had a good practice and team meeting that helped
our confidence," said Cramer.
In the second game Cramer continued her dominance, added three more
strikeouts to her day's total and allowed only four hits over seven innings.
"Pitching did it and our defense was working. We just got is done,"
said Thompson. "I'm really happy to be going to the playoffs because
in my 14-year career I haven't had the opportunity to extend my season.
This is my last year and I'm pretty excited."
The win guaranteed La Verne a spot in the regional playoffs that will
start May 11 and run through May 13.
The site for the playoffs has not yet be set, but Kline believes that
it will be somewhere in Southern California because of the good weather.
The team will officially find out May 7 when, where and who they will
"We're positive, eager and looking forward to the playoffs,"
said Kline. "We're happy, but not quite satisfied because we have set
our sights beyond conference."
Kline said that her team will not have to make any major adjustments.
She believes that if the team continues on the same routine they will be
The entire team is excited but focused. The Leopards took the win over
Occidental no differently than any other victory this season.
"We were very composed. The coaches were more excited then we were,"
The team is confident, and they have already played two of the top teams
in the region.
In both games against top-ranked Pacific Lutheran University and rival
Chapman, the Leopards lost by a single run.
If La Verne happens to win the regional playoffs they would find themselves
playing in Salem, Va. in the National playoffs on May 16.
"I am proud of these young ladies," said Kline. "I do
not think they are quite aware of how much they can accomplish individually
and as a team. I hope this realization comes before the playoffs."
The Leopards will have one last warm-up before the playoffs begin when
they travel South to San Diego to play in the University of California at
San Diego softball tournament. The event, which will wrap up the regular
season, starts today at 1p.m. and runs through Sunday.