Sovereign turning it on for Penn State

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Alyssa Sovereign (Crescenta Valley High, 2010) sophomore, Penn State softball: After getting out to a bit of a slow start, the Crescenta Valley High product has come on strong as of late.

She's gone 10 for 30 over a current eight-game hitting streak that's also including a four-game winning streak for the Nittany Lions that only just ended on Sunday when Penn state lost to Illinois, 1-0, in the final game of its stay at the Citrus Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.

Penn State began the tournament with a split of a doubleheader against Virginia (13-1 loss) and LIU Brooklyn (8-2 win) in which Sovereign had two home runs — her first two of the season — and an RBI double on the day. Sovereign's first homer of the year was the only run scored against Virginia and, against Brooklyn, she homered again — both led off the game. Sovereign later doubled in a run and subsequently scored en route to Penn State stopping a three-game losing skid and beginning the aforementioned four-game winning streak.

The Nittany Lions, who lost Wednesday to Miami of Ohio, 5-2, to drop to 6-9 in a game in which Sovereign went one for four, will play Virginia Tech and South Florida in the first day of the USF Under Armour Showcase on Friday.

Sovereign, who has started all 15 of her team's games, is hitting .240 with a team-high 10 runs and also leads the team with three doubles, two home runs, seven runs batted in and 21 total bases. The outfielder also has been perfect in the field through 11 chances.

Megan Musashi (Flintridge Prep, 2010) sophomore, La Verne University women's basketball: Despite an injury in the early going, the former All-Area and All-CIF standout rebounded in a big way for the Leopards and, on Feb. 28, it was announced she was recognized as an All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference second-team selection.

"For Megan to be honored with all-conference recognition, it speaks volumes to how significant her presence meant to our team," La Verne Coach Matt Rogers stated in a press release on the college's website. "Megan missed the first nine games of the season, but she immediately changed our fortunes upon her return. This is a very deserving honor, and I expect it to be the beginning of many more."

Musashi played in 16 of her team's 25 games, but still led the team with 11.8 points per game, shooting team-highs of 35.6% from the three-point line and 88.7% from the free-throw line. She also shot 44.1% from the floor and averaged 3.6 rebounds, while notching three games of 20 or more points, including a career-high 23 on Jan. 14 against Cal Lutheran.

La Verne went 8-17 overall and 6-8 in the SCIAC for fifth place.

Kris Kauppila (Crescenta Valley High, 2008) junior, Portland University baseball: Kauppila continues to turn in a standout season for the Pilots.

The former All-Area Baseball Player of the Year is currently leading 7-2 Portland with a .389 batting average, having tallied a team-high 14 hits in 36 at-bats through nine starts.

His nine runs, two doubles, one triple, two home runs, eight runs batted in, 24 total bases, .436 on-base percentage and stellar 1.000 fielding percentage through 36 chances are all either team-highs or tied for a team best.

In Tuesday's 5-0 victory against Concordia, Kauppila went two for five with a run, an RBI and a double.

On Friday, Portland begins a four-game home set against Air Force.

Baillie Kirker (Crescenta Valley High, 2009) junior, University of Arizona softball: With the 15th-ranked Wildcats riding a seven-game winning streak, Kirker has put together a decent run as a pinch-hitter.

In a 4-0 win against Long Beach State on Feb. 26, she had two plate appearances and walked both times and drove in a run. Over the next two games — both victories against the College of Charleston — she went one for one in pinch-hit at-bats. The modest run of reaching base four consecutive times ended during a 0 for one performance in a 5-0 win against College of Charleston on Sunday.

Kirker has played sparingly this year for the Wildcats, with her March 2 hit against College of Charleston she collected her first hit of the season. She's gone two for five with three walks in nine games played.

Arizona (16-4) begins a three-game road series at Baylor on Friday.

Erin Ashby (Crescenta Valley High, 2011) freshman, Stanford University softball: Ashby, the All-Area Softball Player of the Year the last two seasons, made the first start of her Stanford career on Feb. 26 against New Mexico State and notched her first collegiate hit on Saturday against Florida International and did so in a big way with a run-scoring double.

Both games were a part of Stanford's current 12-game winning streak.

Ashby, who has played first and third base for the 10th-ranked Cardinal (18-3), has played in 10 games with one start, one hit in 10 at-bats, two walks and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 11 chances.

The Cardinal played at St. Mary's on Wednesday and begins its Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic on Friday.

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