San Diego Christian College making softball records with winning pitcher Kendra Kuper

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Establishing records at San Diego Christian College really is not too difficult, considering it is just a third-year women’s softball program.

But the way Hawks pitcher Kendra Kuper is performing, she would be establishing marks at almost any college in the country.

Establishing records at San Diego Christian College really is not too difficult, considering it is just a third-year women’s softball program.

But the way Hawks pitcher Kendra Kuper is performing, she would be establishing marks at almost any college in the country.

Kuper, a hometown product out of Santana High, recently tossed her second shutout of the season, finishing with a 3-hitter in a blanking of Goshen College Ind.) The triumph capped a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Maple Leafs at Sportsplex USA of Santee.

The victories raised the Hawks ledger to 12-4 on the season. Among the ball club’s few defeats, three were to nationally rated programs while the other was an extra-inning affair, as the program continues to make strides to also gain mention in the NAIA rankings.

Kuper, who owns a 5-1 pitching record, is one of the reasons behind the Hawks quick success as a program.

“We are so blessed to have Kendra on our team,” said head coach Cheryl Schaefer. “Her success on the mound, in my opinion has everything to do with her intense competitiveness, discipline, and desire that she comes to the field with every day

Earlier this season, Kuper did more than toss a shutout. In a contest against University of Antelope Valley, the sophomore fired a perfect game — the first in school history.

“The last out felt great! I have never pitched a perfect game and it felt extremely satisfying,” said the psychology major. “But it was a team effort; not just mine. My defense definitely backed me up this game and they made some pretty great plays; I got this perfect game thanks to them.”

As is the case in most perfect games or no-hitters, there always seems to be one key play that could ruin the effort. Kuper’s was no exception.

“One play in particular almost lost the perfect game, a line drive back to me on the mound. I lost the ball, but recovered it.”

Her dedication on and off the field impresses Schaefer.

“Kendra is extremely goal orientated and very clear and detailed on her goals for herself,” the coach added. “It’s these amazing attributes that I know she will be very successful in whatever she is doing.”

At Santana, Kuper was a 3-time all-league performer for the Sultans, also garnering league awards in field hockey and water polo.

In addition, she won on the school Honor Role over all eight semesters, and recipient of the Math Department Award and the Staff Scholarship Award.

However, when it came to her college selection, Kuper seemed to running out of options until San Diego Christian became her new hometown option when it relocated in January 2014.

“I was already planning to attend this school, either as a freshman or a junior transfer from Grossmont College,” Kuper noted. “Throughout high school, I had offers to an array of schools, but nothing felt just right.”

“Then coach Schaefer came along. The timing of it all was amazing. I feel so blessed to be a Hawk and under the coaching staff we have here.”

Kuper shares starting pitching duties with senior Josie Tucker, who had pitched locally against Grossmont College when competing for Santiago Canyon College of Orange County, and freshman Tori Lamb of Bakersfield.

“Our pitching staff is a whole with no number one,” added Kuper, who plans to work with special education children. “I am not the ace, we all work together and help each other out when we can.”

“I was given the opportunity to pitch as a Hawk and when I get playing time I am thankful. I do my best, thankfully this game had an extremely positive outcome. I did not receive this perfect game alone, my team earned it for me.”

To back this, Kuper noted the team’s Bible verse for this season, which comes from John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for his friend.”