Author: Ryan Graff
The baseball team (12-25 overall, 8-18 conference) will conclude their season this weekend. They will face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Friday and Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday. If they win both of these games, they will match their 14-25 overall record from last season but will fall short of their 11-16 SCIAC finish. While their record and standing is not quite what they had hoped for, the team has had plenty to be proud of this season. With a young team, the Tigers earned necessary experience and made improvements all season long. Statistics show shortstop Logan Allen (sophomore) leading the Tigers offensively with a .400 batting average, 46 hits and 32 runs scored. Right fielder Stephen Hilliard (senior) finished first in runs batted in (RBI) with 25. Of the starting pitchers, Cory Popham (red shirt first-year) (3-5) led the squad with a 4.44 earned run average (ERA), an opponent batting average of .265 and 60 strikeouts through 77 innings of work on the campaign.
The softball team (18-20 overall, 6-18 conference) put the cap on their season with a doubleheader against La Verne on April 23. Unfortunately, the Tigers were unable to pull off a victory and finish above a .500 record. However, they far surpassed last year’s mark of 8-24 overall and 5-19 in SCIAC. Chavez led the Tigers at the plate with a .358 batting average, 39 hits and 19 RBIs. Jacqueline Shimamoto (first-year) scored the most runs (24), which she complemented with a .314 average. In the circle, Brittany Vacura (sophomore) posted a final 3.26 ERA, 88 strikeouts (an Occidental College record) and an opponent batting average of .265. As the Tigers’ ace pitcher for the last two seasons, Vacura will be a crucial piece of the puzzle for the Tigers for the rest of her career. She will be joined in this effort by Amber Garland (first-year) and Kathleen McLain (sophomore), who will help give Occidental one of the strongest pitching staffs in SCIAC.
The women’s tennis team (6-16 overall, 3-7 conference) had a very similar season to the men’s tennis program. The ladies played difficult matches all year long, putting up fights against nationally ranked opponents on various occasions. On April 22 and 23, the Tigers played in the SCIAC Championship Tournament hosted by Caltech. They lost 5-1 against Redlands in their first match and pulled out a tough 5-4 victory over La Verne. Their weekend concluded after falling 8-1 against Whittier College to wrap up their season. Like the men’s team, they had success against Texas opponents, beating Hendrix College 7-2 and McMurray College 6-3 on March 12. The Tigers will only graduate two seniors — Jessica Go and Isabelle Ying — and will return three rising seniors and four rising sophomores. Like many other Occidental sports, the women’s tennis team will rely primarily on their youngsters to step up and carry the team in the future.
The men’s tennis team (6-14 overall, 2-7 conference) was certainly not defined by their record this season. They played most of their matches against nationally ranked opponents and had one of the most difficult schedules in the country. The Tigers hosted the SCIAC Championship Tournament on April 23 and ended their 2011 season with a hard-fought 7-2 loss to Whittier College. A highlight of their season came on March 12 and 13 when they traveled to Texas and won three out of four matches in the two day stretch. They ousted both Hardiri-Simmons University and Hendrix College by scores of 7-2 and ended their streak with a 9-0 trouncing of Austin College. The pair of Spencer Choy (sophomore) and Stephen Perkins (sophomore) was crucial for the Tigers as they consistently won matches both together and individually all season long. As successful underclassmen, they are two players to watch for to make an impact for the program for the rest of their respective careers.
Women’s Water Polo
The women’s water polo team (17-9 overall, 7-0 conference) is undeniably one of the best Occidental athletic programs. They are currently ranked first in the nation for Division III schools and are on a seven game win streak against SCIAC opponents. The Tigers’ next challenge will be the SCIAC Championship Tournament on April 29, when they will take on Caltech at 1:30 p.m. Their goal is to make it back to the National Championship and redeem last season’s loss. By finishing their regular season undefeated, they made school history and will enter the playoffs as the number one overall team. Players to watch for are center Nanea Fujiyama (sophomore), attacker Karie Nickle (senior), center Julie Monday (senior), utility player Tessa-Bailey-Findley (junior) and goaltender Rachel Adeleye (sophomore).
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