LA VERNE, Calif. — With the 2016 SCIAC Championship in the bag, the University of La Verne softball team will try to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship as it opens the SCIAC Postseason Tournament (double elimination) against Whittier on Friday, May 6 at 10 a.m.
The Leopards have played the Poets four times this season and swept the season series.
The winner of Friday's morning game between La Verne and Whittier will face the winner of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps versus Redlands matchup in the winners bracket semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Losers will play at 3 p.m. in a win-or-go home game.
All games for the SCIAC Softball Postseason Tournament will be broadcasted through the SCIAC portal. Per SCIAC policy, viewers will be charged $10 per day during the tournament. Fans can also find updated results by visiting the tournament's central website (click here).
RECAPPING THE REGULAR SEASON
La Verne won its first SCIAC Championship since 2004 and eighth in program history with a 25-3 SCIAC record. La Verne's 25 wins is the most in head coach Julie Smith's tenure and its only losses came against postseason qualifiers Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Redlands (twice). After hitting a brief bump on a March trip to Arizona, the Leopards have won 14 straight games while posting six shutouts during the stretch.
IN THE CIRCLE
La Verne's pitching staff is led by the 2016 SCIAC Athlete of the Year Katherine Kibbe. The senior from Rohnert Park posted a 19-4 record, recorded 106 strikeouts and posted a miniscule 1.63 ERA in 146.1 innings this season. Against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Redlands and Whittier, Kibbe has gone a combined 6-2 with with a 2.20 ERA and 28 strikeouts in nine appearances.
AT THE PLATE
The Leopards boast the most prolific offense in the SCIAC, ranking first in the league in runs (173), hits (268), RBI (155), total bases (373), batting average (.358), on-base percentage (.428) and slugging percentage (.499). The lineup is anchored by Mackenzie Dutton and Alexis Schiff, who have combined for 19 home runs and 84 RBI on the season. Dutton (34) and Schiff (30) are 1-2 in the SCIAC RBI leaderboards and are tied for second in home runs (6).
LEADING THE LEOPARDS
La Verne head coach Julie Smith and her assistants were named the SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year. Smith guided the Leopards to two SCIAC Postseason Tournament championships (2008, 2010) but finally won the conference crown this year. Under Smith's leadership, the Leopards have made an appearance in seven of the first nine SCIAC Postseason Tournaments and made three straight apperances in the NCAA National Championship from 2008-10.