by Ramzi Rabadi
Get ready for the explosion today at the University of Redlands when the University of La Verne softball team takes the field for the first time this season.
In previous years, the Leopards had to face NAIA scholarship schools and Division I non-scholarship schools on their schedule.
According to head coach Julie Kline, there will be no excuses this year.
With the fall sports slightly running into the season, the team has not been able to put the total squad together. “We haven’t had a complete defense out there,” said freshmen Jamie Poole, second baseman.
Also, junior Teresa Garcia, outfielder, agreed with their problem of not having a collective team. But she insisted they were going to surprise a lot of people with an outstanding season.
“Everyone is willing to give all and work hard,” said Garcia.
Freshman pitcher Michelle Geiger, senior infielder Katie Miner and senior outfielder Kelly Perkins are coming out from the basketball season to join the team.
“I believe player for player this team is one of the most talented teams we have had here. We expect to contend for the championship every year,” Kline said.
There are five returners from last year-senior shortstop Loree Grey, junior third baseman Liz Lomeli, senior outfielder Jenna Bowman, Garcia and Perkins. But the team will be counting on the young and fresh arm of Teresa DaValle, a freshmen pitcher. DeValle brings a fastball, drop, rise, curve and her favorite pitch of all, the change-up, to ULV.
DeValle, has come back to softball after not playing for the last two years in high school.
“Julie, who was my P.E. teacher, told me to come out and practice and I did,” DeValle said.
“The younger players have an opportunity to learn from some very talented seniors,” Kline said.
Poole said the team consists of many strengths, but ULV’s pitching is its top.
Kline considers the fundamentals of the game are the key to winning games. In doing so, they work hard on defense and hitting every practice.
“We hit every day in the cage and once a week live pitching,” said Poole.
According to Garcia, the positive attitudes maintained by all the players is great.
“Everybody is getting along and that is the most important thing,” Garcia said.
Spring break will not bring time to rest for this team, instead they will play the Trinity Tournament in San Antonio, Texas.
“The San Antonio Tournament is a great opportunity for us to gain regional and national exposure. We will be focused,” Kline said.
The Leopards goal of defeating three teams in San Antonio will make them tournament champions.
“We take one game at a time. Good things happen to teams that work hard,” said Kline.
But, before the tournament they will have to face defending SCIAC champion Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks March 7.