ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University softball team enters the bulk of its 2018 season after opening with a split doubleheader against Whitworth in January. The Panthers return eight of their nine players in the lineup and two of their three starting pitchers. Chapman also welcomes back sophomores Michaela Foisy and Sarah Sumida, who each earned All-West Region Third Team honors and All-SCIAC selections.
The Panthers are looking to build off the momentum from last year's improbable run into the SCIAC Tournament. Chapman won its last four games in a row to get into the tournament. After going 0-2 in the tournament, the Panthers have aspirations of not only making their way back to the tournament, but making it even further.
Foisy had a breakout freshman season, breaking the school record for stolen bases in a single season with 30 stolen bases. After stealing three bases in the doubleheader against Whitworth earlier this season, the sophomore is well on her way to breaking the school career record of 52 stolen bases. The Discovery Bay, Calif. native also led the team in batting average (.368), hits (46), and runs (30). She earned All-SCIAC First Team recognition as well as All-West Region Third Team honors in just her first season at Chapman.
Following Foisy in the No. 2 spot in the lineup this year is fellow freshman standout Sumida. The Panthers' second baseman earned All-SCIAC Second Team honors after appearing in every game and leading Chapman in RBIs (20) and on-base percentage (.480). The Honolulu, Hawaii native also followed Foisy last year with 42 hits and 16 runs.
Starting every game at center field in the 2017 season was sophomore Christine LoVerde, who posted a batting average of .248 and tallied 10 RBIs and 21 runs. Sophomore Samantha Tong also returns to the lineup this year after starting 37 games at short stop for the Panthers and batting .347 with 20 RBIs and 16 runs last season.
Junior right-handed pitcher Samantha Whalen returns to the circle after leading the Chapman pitchers in the 2017 season. The Livermore, Calif. native led the rotation with 116.1 innings pitched last year. She also posted a career-best 2.11 ERA in 13 starts and 26 appearances for the Panthers while leading the team with 51 strikeouts. Sophomore right hander Sarah Hartmann also returns to the Chapman rotation after tallying a 2.32 ERA and striking out 26 batters in 75.1 innings pitched in the 2017 season.
The Panthers welcome seven newcomers to the team in 2018 and freshman first baseman Jordyn Krohn cracked the starting lineup in the No. 3 spot. The Lake Forest, Calif. native went 1-for-4 with three RBIs in Chapman's victory over Whitworth earlier this season.
The Panthers open up SCIAC play with a doubleheader against La Verne on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 12 p.m. at El Camino Real Park.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant