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CAMPUS REPORT | SMALL COLLEGES

Brandt Stays to Make the Pitches SCC Needs

April 15, 1999|PAUL McLEOD

Some people are married to what they do. Then there is Gretchen Brandt, who is planning her wedding while she anchors the pitching staff for the Southern California College softball team.

A fifth-year senior for the Vanguards, Brandt is 10-7 with a 1.74 earned-run average. She leads the Golden State Athletic Conference in strikeouts (141) and victories (six) and the Vanguards are atop the conference standings and ranked fifth in the NAIA.

The fact that Brandt, a second-team All-American last season, stayed around to pitch for the Vanguards (30-9) is surprising, what with her June 19 marriage in Oregon to SCC track runner Dan Clements. Brandt missed her sophomore season to have surgery to repair a torn ligament in her pitching arm. When she earned a degree last spring in sports science, she considered walking away.

"But I didn't know what I wanted to do with sports science," she said, "so I'm going after a second degree in business."

The decision has turned out to be a key to the success of the Vanguards, who returned six senior starters.

"We didn't think we were going to get her back," Coach Beth Renkoski said. "She could have gone on but she's having a really good year and I'm happy for her."

Renkoski said Brandt's record is deceiving.

"The team hasn't played well behind her a few times and I don't know whether that is because they are thinking that they don't have to try hard because she is out there or what," Renkoski said. "She's pitched well and they haven't supported her."

Brandt, a native of Susanville, has received lots of support, she said, from family members, when it comes to planning her wedding. But why attempt such an important event so close to softball season, which the Vanguards could extend to the end of May with a solid playoff run?

"I've always wanted to be a June bride," she said.

Nevertheless, Brandt says she expects the Vanguards to go far into the playoffs, perhaps to the NAIA national tournament, May 24-29 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"We just know we are going to make it. It should be no problem," she said. "We're a lot stronger hitting team than we were last year and that will carry us a lot farther."

MOVING ON

Tom Moody has resigned as Hope University's men's basketball coach.

Hope was 11-52 in Moody's two seasons. Moody also doubled as the school's sports information director. He said he will finish out the semester as a part-time physical education teacher, but will not return to Hope in either capacity in the fall.

Moody said he grew tired that Hope does not have a gymnasium and played home games in six facilities last season.

Moody said a lack of facilities is a major issue that Hope's nine sports teams will have to address when they join the Golden State Athletic Conference full-time in the fall. Hope is currently playing a probationary year in the GSAC. It has a full conference schedule, but the results don't count in the standings.

"Joining the GSAC is an exciting thing for this school," Moody said. "But it is a very tough conference and it will be a very tough road to hoe."

CLOSING POINTS

Despite a 3-0 loss to St. Mary's (Minn.) in its final Sun West softball tournament game, Chapman, which went 20-1, was declared tournament champion by virtue of having the best overall winning percentage. The Panthers (28-4), ranked second in the NCAA Division III, play a doubleheader today at Claremont. . . Chapman's Sean St. Clair, a senior, is making a bid to become only the second golfer in school history to quality for the NCAA Division III championships. His stroke average is just below the 77 required to qualify and he has several more rounds to play. . . . Chapman has bid to host the Far West regional softball championships May 14-16.

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