Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – Over Homecoming Weekend the Whittier College Athletic Department hosted their 2018 Purple & Gold Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and one of the inductees was the 1987 Softball Team.
The 1987 Team compiled a 26-11 record, the second best winning percentage in the program's 36-year history. They won the first SCIAC championship, highlighted by a 9-0 record versus La Verne and Occidental. The team had a .297 batting average and .410 on base percentage while outscoring opponents 248 to 122 over the season.
Offensively it was a true team effort. Nine players scored 21 or more runs led by Paige Matsumoto's 39, and nine had at least 11 runs batted in led by Laurel Wallace's 35. Julie Curtis led the team in average at .364 and home runs with 6. She finished her career with a four-year average of .400 and a total of 35 home runs, which stood as a team record until 2014. Lanihau Lum led the team in walks with 32, and Paige Matsumoto led in stolen bases with 17.
But as outstanding as our hitting was, our pitching was even better. Kathy Rodrigues (13-4) and Laura Hoyt 13-7 had a combined winning percentage of .708 and ERAs of 0.94 and 1.84 respectively for a combined ERA of 1.42. Kathy finished her four-year career with team records for earned run average at 1.16 and a total of 65 wins, while Laura's three year totals were a 1.62 ERA with 27 wins. In 1987 they combined for 102 strikeouts and only 32 walks, less than one per game.
This was veteran team with 7 four-year letter winners and 4 others who played three years for Whittier. Their dominance in Conference play was illustrated by the fact that 10 of them were named first or second team All-Conference – Julie Curtis, Lynne Fujimoto, Laura Hoyt, Lanihau Lum, Paige Matsumoto, Leda Mintzer, Laura Rivas, Kathy Rodrigues, and Janet Wheeler. Four were named All-Region – Julie, Kathy, Lanihau, and Paige; and Julie was named All-American, her second such honor. In addition, reflecting the team's academic quality, Kathy Rodrigues and Janet Wheeler were each named Academic All-Americans during their careers at Whittier.