The eighth-ranked University of Redlands softball team finished off the regular season by winning 17 of its final 18 games en route to capturing its ninth consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championship. With this honor comes the right to host the sixth annual SCIAC Postseason Tournament, which takes place on Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27, at the "Field of Dreams."
Playing as the top seed, the Bulldogs face fourth-seeded University of La Verne in Friday's 9 a.m. game, with No. 2-seed Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges and third-seeded Chapman University battling it out at 11:30 a.m. The double-elimination tournament continues at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, with games set for Saturday at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. if necessary.
The winner of the 2013 SCIAC Postseason Tournament earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which begin either May 9 or 10, depending on the number of teams selected to a given regional tournament.
Redlands has put together a 32-8 overall record so far, going 22-6 in SCIAC competition during the inaugural eight-team schedule. The Bulldogs have advanced to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament every year since its inception in 2008, and garnered a spot in the NCAA Championships during each of the past eight seasons.
Since April 12, the Bulldogs have out-scored conference opponents by a 29-5 ratio while recording five shutouts.
Against the top-four conference opponents, Redlands owns a 7-5 record, dropping just one game apiece to CMS and Chapman.
The Bulldogs benefit from the stamina and determination of senior pitcher Kayla Uphold (Fontana, CA), who was named the 2012 SCIAC Player of the Year. This year, she has thrown 126.1 innings in conference competition, earning a 16-5 record with five shutouts. Her overall ERA sits at 1.14 to go along with a SCIAC-leading mark of 1.22 against conference foes.
Offensively, senior center-fielder Sarah Beeman (Corona, CA) leads the Maroon and Gray with a .464 batting average in conference competition. She has belted out 45 hits, which include six triples, five doubles, and three homeruns. She ranks first on the team with 29 RBI in SCIAC action. Sophomore utility player Nikoli Sharp (Lincoln, CA) brings a solid bat to the order as well, with a .402 average in SCIAC. She has 27 RBI and 10 multi-bag hits.
Coupled with Whittier College's split with Occidental College on Friday, La Verne (24-14, 1612 SCIAC) advanced to the 2013 tournament when it swept Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in the final doubleheader of the regular season.
As the No. 4 seed, La Verne owns an impressive 3-1 record over Redlands but a 4-8 showing against the tournament field. The Leopards return to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament after a year hiatus but come with memorable experiences of winning it in 2008 and 2010.
Raven Freret ranks first among La Verne with a .459 batting average and 30 RBI during conference games.
Among a diversified battery, Katherine Kibbe leads the Leopards with a 7-1 record and 2.88 ERA in 55 innings pitched. She also offers a .377 average as a viable threat from the plate.
Equipped with a national ranking of No. 17, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (29-11, 21-7 SCIAC) advances to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for its sixth straight appearance. In 2012, the Athenas prevailed in the tournament, earning the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships by defeating Redlands in the final game.
CMS boasts the best record against this year's four competitors, going 9-3 with four wins apiece against Chapman and La Verne.
During SCIAC games, Harmony Palmer leads all players with an outstanding batting average of .506, which includes 42 hits, 11 of which are doubles. She has crossed the plate on 37 occasions and nabbed 18 bases along the way.
Hayley Shultz continues to headline the Athena pitching staff with 113.1 innings in conference competition, resulting in an impressive 15-1 record with two saves. Her ERA of 1.61 ranks second in the SCIAC.
With a national ranking of No. 23, Chapman (24-14, 17-11 SCIAC) competes in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament as a first-year member of the conference. The Panthers put together a 4-8 showing against the top-four teams, highlighted by a 3-1 effort against La Verne.
As Chapman's only player above .400, Jenny Richards supplies a solid .473 batting average against SCIAC competition. She has 12 multi-bag hits, including two homeruns, to go along with 13 RBI as one of five Panthers with 10 or more.
Natalie Both and Cassie Oregel have combined forces from the circle to account for 162.1 innings and 17 wins this season. Both boasts a slightly better ERA at 1.95 but truly excels in the strikeout department with a conference-leading 84 thus far.
Fans my follow all of the action of the 2013 SCIAC Postseason Tournament via live stats.
information is available at the event web site.