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SCC Is a Hit, Chapman Is Amiss as Playoffs Begin

May 13, 1999|PAUL McLEOD

The Chapman and Southern California College softball teams enter regional playoffs this week going in opposite directions.

SCC, which hosts the NAIA Far West Regional, opens at 9 a.m. today against Menlo College (26-14). The Eagles (42-10) won their second consecutive Golden State Athletic Conference title with a 19-1 record, including last week's two-game sweep of Cal Baptist.

Chapman (26-6), after a sizzling start in which it won the Sun West tournament title with a 20-1 mark, brings a five-game losing streak into the NCAA Division III West Regional, which it hosts at Hart Park.

The Panthers open play at 5 p.m. Friday against the winner of the noon game Friday between North Central (Ill.) (31-6) and Anderson (Ind.) (34-8). In the other first-round games, St. Thomas (Minn.) (29-12) plays Pacific Lutheran (Wash.) (38-4) at 2 p.m.

The double-elimination tournament continues through Sunday, with the championship game scheduled for 2:30 p.m. The winner advances to the national finals, May 20-23, at Wisconsin Eau Claire.


SCC, fifth-ranked nationally, enters play today with all the confidence in the world, according to Coach Beth Renkoski, the GSAC coach of the year.

"We're a lot stronger in hitting this year and hopefully that will take us further," pitcher Gretchen Brandt said. "I think we're definitely among the top teams in the whole nation."

This is the second consecutive season SCC has hosted a regional. Last year the Vanguards defeated Hawaii Pacific, 1-0.

If SCC defeats Menlo this morning, it faces the winner of the 11 a.m. game between GSAC rivals Azusa Pacific (31-21) and Point Loma Nazarene (31-17) at 3 p.m. A sweep today would put the Vanguards a victory away from making it to the NAIA national tournament May 24-27 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

SCC is led by five seniors chosen to the All-GSAC team. Center fielder Chrissy Vega was voted player of the year and Brandt shared pitcher of the year honors.

Other All-GSAC players are catcher Michelle Murie, shortstop Alicia Groshon, first baseman Noelle Sturgill, first baseman Valerie Vanaken and freshman pitcher Gina Liebengood.


Chapman Coach Janet Lloyd said her team, which plays an independent schedule, seems to have lost its edge in the season's final weeks.

"We didn't play that poorly," she said. "We knew we could play well, but we had to work on our mental aspect of the game."

Despite two losses May 1 at Division II power Cal State Bakersfield, Lloyd believes the eighth-ranked Panthers are ready to tackle the regional with a renewed attitude.

"All we have been doing is preparing mentally," she said. "We went back to fundamentals last week and made sure we could hit the ball. Now, we just need to concentrate more."

Chapman was the national runner-up last season.


Freshman Brandon Grady, the lead-off runner on Concordia's 3,200-meter relay team, which qualified to compete in the NAIA championships, was admitted to Irvine Medical Center Monday night with a small blood clot in his left arm.

A school spokesman said Grady, who underwent tests, noticed a small lump in his arm several weeks ago but thought nothing of it until teammates urged him to have it examined. Concordia has posted a qualifying time for the NAIA meet, but Grady's status is questionable.


Chapman is the top-seeded team in the NCAA Division III West Region baseball championships, May 20-24 at Southwestern in Georgetown, Texas. The Panthers (37-3) will play fourth-seeded Sul Ross State of Alpine, Texas, at 1 p.m. May 20. In the other first-round game of the double-elimination tournament, Cal Lutheran plays Southwestern. This marks the third consecutive NCAA playoff appearance for Chapman, which is ranked No. 3 in the nation. In 1997, the Panthers advanced to the national finals, and last year they were eliminated in the regionals. . . . Chapman's Chan Ly, a junior, has been selected to participate in the Division III men's tennis singles championships, Monday-Wednesday in Claremont on the campuses of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer. Ly advanced to the singles semifinals at the Ojai tournament. . . . Concordia has signed five women's basketball players, including 6-0 Lindsay King of Fountain Valley and 5-9 guard Kristin Thompkins of Pacifica. The others are 5-11 forward Emma Covington (Fresno Hoover), 5-10 guard Julia Fry (Logan, Ohio) and 5-9 guard Jenny Hansen (Oregon City, Ore., Clackamas College). . . Stefan Johansson and Joakim Ulfvebrand were named to the All-GSAC men's tennis team. Morena Jovisic was selected from the women's team.

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