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The softball team gathers in front of the dugout.
Photo by Larry Newman

Softball SCIAC Postseason Tournament: 5 Things To Know


A week after taking two of three from La Verne to earn a spot and the No. 2 seed in the SCIAC Tournament, the Panthers and Leopards will face off again in the opening round of the conference playoff. Redlands earned the top seed and will host every game of the double elimination tournament. Chapman will be the No. 2 seed, La Verne the No. 3 seed and Pomona-Pitzer swept its rival CMS to steal the No. 4 seed. The Panthers won the SCIAC series against La Verne and Pomona-Pitzer but dropped a non-conference contest to the Sagehens and the SCIAC series against Redlands.


Jillian Kelly ended a phenomenal freshman season with a historic honor. The lefty became the first Chapman player to be selected to a major SCIAC award since the Panthers joined the conference for the 2013 season. The SCIAC Pitcher of the Year led the league in nearly every pitching category while ranking in the top-50 in the nation for wins, WHIP, strikeouts, hits allowed per seven innings, shutouts and saves. Kelly's dominance began in her first career start, throwing a no-hitter at Westcliff. She won the first 10 starts of her career and enters the tournament just outside of the top-5 for wins and strikeouts in a single season at Chapman.


Another first-year player made her immediate mark and was recognized on the All-SCIAC Second Team this week. Ilianna Serna (aka Chill) earned the distinction after leading the Panthers with a .421 batting average this year while her 18 RBIs rank third on the squad. She has delivered in clutch situations all season long, highlighted in her walkoff single over No. 6 DePauw. She delivered the go-ahead RBIs in Chapman's final win over La Verne the regular season finale to clinch a spot in the SCIAC Tournament. She is hitting a team-best .457 with runners in scoring position and is second on the team with 11 two-out RBIs.


The Panthers have played their way into the SCIAC Tournament in each of the last three seasons. Last year, Chapman won its first SCIAC Tournament game and played Redlands in the championship game but ultimately fell to the Bulldogs. The Panthers are seeking their first SCIAC Tournament championship and NCAA appearance for the first time since 2008. Chapman's appearance in the SCIAC Tournament is the sixth in the program's nine years in the conference.


Annika Briski has made the most of her senior year, jumping into a starting role for the first time. Julia Muniz has continued to flex at the plate. The pair of seniors have driven in 46 combined runs with Briski hitting .400 and Muniz hitting .345. Muniz also leads the team with eight doubles, three triples and three home runs. Muniz and Briski have been another two clutch hitters in the middle of the Chapman order as Muniz leads the team with 13 two-out RBIs and Briski is hitting well over .400 with runners in scoring position.


By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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