by Danny Eckardt
Now that the spring sports season is coming to a close, the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) has named the All-Conference team, from which the University of La Verne softball squad earned six positions, including Player of the Year, while the baseball team managed one.
The six softball award winners was the icing on the Leopards cake this season.
Those players included senior pitcher Amber Hall (Player of the Year), junior infielder Sophia Garcia (First Team — first base), sophomore outfielder Jennifer Thompson (First Team — designated player), junior outfielder Lindsey Weber (First Team — outfielder), sophomore catcher Kadie Tillema (Second Team — catcher) and freshman pitcher Robin Haaker (Second Team — utility).
“These are well deserved awards,” said head softball coach Julie Kline. “I am proud of these young ladies as well as the team because they are a unit.”
Hall, who also earned ULV Athlete of the Year while being a scholar student, extended La Verne’s dominance over the Player of the Year award to three years.
“It makes me realize how good of a team I have behind me, because you can’t get an award like this if you don’t have a team behind you,” Hall said.
Not only have the Leopards maintained a hold on the Player of the Year honor, but they have also managed to be successful at placing various players on the All-Conference team for the past six years.
“The team is successful, because we have outstanding individuals in our program,” said Kline, whose team finished 26-10.
Although they had a less than spectacular season, the ULV baseball team did have a standout in First Team All-SCIAC second baseman junior Justin Ott.
“He is a good example of hard work pays dividends,” said baseball head coach Owen Wright. “When it came to game time, he was a gamer.”
Ott, who lead the team in triples (3), doubles (9), hits (43), runs scored (27) and batting average (.462 — fifth best in SCIAC), was voted the most valuable player by his teammates.
“It’s a nice honor,” said Ott. “I don’t play to get the honors, I play to win.”
Perhaps the most impressive statistic Ott attained this season was his one error in 109 attempts while playing at both the second base and shortstop positions.
Even though Ott cannot earn an award for his leadership, he still led the team by example.
“He has earned the respect of his teammates,” Wright said.