Five Leopards earn All-SCIAC softball honors; Smith Coach of the Year

Five Leopards earn All-SCIAC softball honors; Smith Coach of the Year

PASADENA — A 25-3 record and first conference championship in 12 years should garner some recognition and the Leopards got just that.

Katherine Kibbe was named the 2016 SCIAC Athlete of the Year, the staff led by Julie Smith was tabbed the Coaching Staff of the Year and four additional Leopards were selected to First Team All-SCIAC by the league's coaches, the conference announced on Tuesday.

Kibbe has been the most valuable player in the SCIAC this season, putting up elite numbers both in the pitcher's circle and in the batter's box. The senior from Rohnert Park native posted a 19-4 record, recorded 106 strikeouts and posted a miniscule 1.63 ERA in 146.1 innings. She also pitched 17 complete games and held the opponents to just .205 hitting. As a hitter, Kibbe hit .345 with three home runs, 21 RBI and 16 runs scored.

Joining Kibbe on the All-SCIAC squad were Mackenzie DuttonSienna KendricksAlexis Schiff and Raeleen Tellez. This marks the second straight year Dutton and Schiff has been named to First Team.

Dutton led the SCIAC in RBI with 45, was second in hitting with a .427 batting average and was third in home runs with nine. Schiff was right behind Dutton on the RBI leaderboard with 41, was second in home runs with 10 and hit .407.

Kendricks made an immediate impact as a freshman. She hit .382 with a home run, 21 RBI and 12 runs scored and played solid defense in both corner outfield spots.

Tellez, who made plays after highlight plays in center field last season, moved over to short and did not miss a beat. She was once again solid in defense in the most important position, posting a .936 fielding percentage, and was a sparkplug for the offense, hitting .340 with 18 runs scored and six stolen bases.

In addition to the players, La Verne's coaching staff headed by Julie Smith received the Coaching Staff of the Year accolades. Smith guided the Leopards to two SCIAC Postseason Tournament championships (2008, 2010) but finally won the conference crown this year. The Leopards led the the SCIAC in eight statistical categories.

The Leopards will try to earn the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship this weekend as they host the 2016 SCIAC Postseason Tournament.

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