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COLLEGE DIVISION NOTEBOOK / MARTIN BECK

Lloyd's Optimism Emerges as Chapman Softball Begins

February 10, 1996|Martin Beck

Lisle Lloyd, co-coach of Chapman's softball team, has never been one to downplay the Panthers' chances. Lou Holtz he isn't.

Two cases in point:

* More than a year before Chapman had played its first game as an NCAA Division III member, Lloyd predicted the Panthers would win a national title in 1995.

* He had "National Champions" printed at the bottom of the 1995 team picture, months before the Panthers actually beat Trenton (N.J.) State for the championship.

So what is Lloyd saying before this season? His messages seem a bit mixed.

"It's going to be an iffy season," said Lloyd, "unless it starts coming together, which it could."

The longer Lloyd talks, the more optimistic he gets: "Last year, we sneaked in without anybody realizing about us. Everybody is going to be waiting for us this year. It's going to be a fun year.

"I'm going to be really disappointed if we don't make the national tournament. Actually, if we win at regionals, we should be able to win at nationals. I don't see another team outside the West region.

"All we can do is wait and see. It's a long way from here to there."

With four returning first-team All-Americans, including sophomore pitcher Christy Guidorizzi (27-4, 0.68 earned-run average, 283 strikeouts), Chapman has the potential to clear a path.

Shortstop Lisa Cancilla (.475, five home runs, 53 runs batted in), catcher Kathy Donovan (.464, four homers, 44 RBIs) and left fielder Jessamine Maiben (.404, six homers, 39 RBIs) should again provide the firepower that helped Chapman bat .365 as a team last season.

One of the few trouble spots has been finding a leadoff hitter to replace Jenny Martinez (.474), who decided not to play her senior season. Cancilla, the No. 4 hitter last year, will start the season at the top of the order because she has been getting on base in scrimmages.

Janet Lloyd, the co-coach and Lisle's daughter, says the team has been struggling at the plate. "We just have got to get these guys hitting," she said. "They're not hitting the way they were hitting at the end of last year, that's for sure, but we started slow last season too."

Chapman, which was ranked No. 1 in a preseason coaches' poll by a college sports magazine, begins the season at noon Sunday, facing Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills at Hart Park in Orange.

*

Meanwhile, Central (Iowa), the second-ranked team in the preseason poll, started practicing last week--indoors. Larry Happel, Central's sports information director, said the temperature didn't rise above zero for five days last week, dipping as low as minus-30 in Pella, Iowa.

Central, which practices in a fieldhouse, won't play its first game until March. Coach George Wares, who led the Flying Dutch to Division III titles in 1988, '91 and '93, said he welcomes the Panthers' presence in the division.

"As soon as I saw them going Division III, I knew they would be competitive right away," Wares said. "I didn't know that they were going to win it right away, but it wasn't a shock."

*

Tough break: Jeff Putnam, an All-Golden State Athletic Conference forward on the Concordia men's basketball team last year, was having an inconsistent season, but last Saturday believed he was back on track.

After scoring 11 points in nine minutes in the first half of the Eagles' game with Cal Baptist, Putnam said, "Old Jeff is back," according to Coach Greg Marshall. But he wasn't able to stay around for long.

Putnam, who scored 17 points in the game, took a charge midway through the second half and fractured a bone in his right elbow.

Putnam is out indefinitely, but Marshall said there is a chance he could play if rehabilitation is successful. Marshall said the prognosis should be known in a week.

Putnam was averaging 13 points and a conference-leading 8.9 rebounds.

*

Notes

Jaime Gast, a guard on the Concordia women's basketball team, was named the Golden State Athletic Conference player of the week. Last week, Gast, a freshman from Diamond Bar, had 21 points in a victory over Cal Baptist and 19 points, 10 rebounds and four steals in a victory over Southern California College. . . . Eric Walker, a junior forward for SCC, was named conference men's player of the week. Walker had 21 points and nine rebounds in a victory at Concordia and 14 points and eight rebounds as the Vanguards won at Point Loma Nazarene. . . . The Chapman women's basketball team is ranked eighth in the NCAA Division III West region this week, one spot behind Pomona-Pitzer, which beat the Panthers, 75-65, last Saturday. Chapman (12-8) has games remaining against teams ranked higher, No. 6 UC San Diego and No. 4 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. . . . The Southern California College softball team is ranked fifth in the preseason NAIA poll.

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