Redlands softball team ranked No. 11

The University of Redlands softball program will embark upon the 2012 campaign as the No. 11 team in the country according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) .

The Bulldogs, coming off a 36-11 overall record, nabbed 121 points in the NCAA Division III Top-25 Preseason Poll.

In 2011, Redlands captured the program’s eighth overall and seventh consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship while dismantling various school records, including wins in a season.

In addition, the Bulldogs ran the table at the SCIAC Postseason Tournament to secure the automatic berth to the NCAA Championships for their seventh straight appearance. Equalizing the program’s best performance at the national tournament, the Bulldogs came out of the losers’ bracket to finish tied for second against host University of Texas -Tyler.

Sophomore All-American Amanda Lievanos headlines the team’s returning crew as the SCIAC Player of the Year. She led the Bulldog starters in nine offensive categories and ranks among the best in school history in six categories.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps checks in at No. 18. The poll is topped by Linfield (Ore.)

The Bulldogs kick off the 2012 season on Friday with a 5 p.m. doubleheader at Azusa Pacific University before hosting their home opener on Sunday against Concordia University – Irvine at 11 a.m. at the “Field of Dreams.”

Hawks’ Johnson hits double digits with Hawks

Well, I had Thursday night off and it wasn’t exactly a good “TV” night so I spent much of it watching the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies game. Why that game? Well former Cal State San Bernardino player Ivan Johnson is a rookie with the Hawks so I had a vested interest.

It’s always nice when someone you saw through the growing stages makes it up to the professional ranks. There are two other prominent ones for me – Keyon Dooling of the Boston Celtics is one I know from his high school days back in Florida. The other is Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli, whom I also covered in the prep ranks as well as in the minor leagues.

Well Johnson is one we all knew had a chance of making it in the NBA IF his demons didn’t get to him first. He’s toiled in the D-League and overseas. This was a chance a lot of guys don’t get, especially at 27.

Ivan seems to be making the most of it. He just missed a double-double with 10 points (the first two coming on a thuindering dunk), nine rebounds and two blocked shots. He logged 28 minutes, the most he has logged in a game this season.

The numbers were a bit skewed. The game was a blow out (96-77), not indicative of how well the Hawks have been playing as of late, so the subs did see a lot of action. But Ivan did play 10 uninterrupted minutes in the first half when it was still competitive.

Then the second half. Ivan did draw a technical foul late in the fourth quarter after a phantom foul call on him . . some things never change. Replays showed Ivan never touched the guy he supposedly fouled. The TV analyst also admitted the technical foul was really weak one. But when you’re a rookie, you really can’t say boo. Referees have the last word and they’re going to send a message,.

He is averaging 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds.

With Al Horford out for the near future Ivan is going to continue to see steady playing time. He has played as little as 2 minutes but is typically between 15 and 25 minutes. He has been through a lot in his life and it is great to see him fulfilling his dream. It’s a chance he needs to take full advantage of.