Softball Opens 2013 Season on Friday vs. Wright State, #17 Texas A&M
The 49ers open the season at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament
Feb. 7, 2013
The 49er softball team, reigning Big West Champions, kick off the 2013 season this weekend as they head to UCLA to play in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. The 49ers face Wright State at 11:30 am on Friday, followed by #17 Texas A&M. On Sunday, they will play Cal State Bakersfield at 2:00 pm.
2013 Season Outlook
The LBSU softball team, picked to finish second in the Big West this season, returns to the field on Friday with a versatile and experienced squad that will be looking to have a solid tournament season while vying for another conference crown and postseason berth.
Last year the 49ers won the Big West title and played in the Tempe Regional of the NCAA Tournament. Postseason play is always a goal for Head Coach Kim Sowder's teams, so returning to the NCAA field this May will also be a focus for the squad.
The 49ers are playing a tough preseason schedule which includes seven teams which are ranked in the top 25 poll. "We have to play a tough schedule in order to become a better team and give ourselves the best opportunity to compete in the postseason," said Sowder.
"This team has a lot of depth and experience and I am very pleased with our preparation and our effort up to this point. We are ready to start the season and be tested."
The 49ers open the season at UCLA with the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament where they will take on Wright State, Texas A&M and Cal State Bakersfield.
The 49ers lost Taylor Petty to graduation, so a stable of five pitchers will look to do the job in the circle this year. Leading the way is Erin Jones-Wesley, who has had success over the past two years and brings experience to the circle. Amanda Hansen and Christian Carbajal gained valuable experience last year and will be looking to step up this season. Newcomers Selene Pola and Cal transfer Arianna Erceg will also see pitching time in the circle.
Nalani St. Germain will start the season at first base. She is one of the team's most versatile athlete that can play many positions and will likely be in a few different spots throughout the season. St. Germain has been one of LBSU's most clutch hitters over the past three years. She is a great leader by example and has had a very strong fall season. Junior, Loni Tyler and Tennessee transfer Ashley Holmes will also see time at first base. All three have had a really good off-season.
At second base is Cya Neal. After a solid 2012 season both offensively and defensively, she looks to continue to be a leader on the infield for the 49ers.
Shayna Kimbrough returns to the short stop position after doing a solid job as a freshman. She will also be in the leadoff position on the offense. Her consistent effort and great attitude everyday are a coaches dream.
Hannah De Gaetano did a good job at third base last year after moving in from the outfield the year before. Having the entire fall to train at third base has helped her to increase her range and become even more comfortable at the hot corner. Hannah has been one of the team's most consistent bats for the past two years and the 49ers will look for her to continue to be a leader on the offense this year.
The 49ers are fortunate to have three of the best catchers in the country. All three have had a lot of experience over the past two years and had great success. Coach Sowder will utilize all three catchers throughout the season both in a catching role and as designated hitters. Karli Sandoval came on strong last season with her bat and filled the four-spot in the line up and gained a lot of confidence offensively. Sarah Carrasco also came on strong at the end of the season after recovering from a back injury. Her unparalleled work ethic and constant positive attitude led her to a very successful fall season both offensively and defensively. Dana Garcia brings versatility to the offense with both a lot of power and speed and can hit from both sides of the plate.
In left field, Brianna Stephan is the healthiest she's been since her freshman year and has always been a great defensive outfielder for the 49ers. She can play any outfield position and has a lot of potential with her bat and her speed at the plate. Sophomore Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi is back after starting as a freshman last year. She is a solid outfielder and a triple threat on the offense. The most valuable assests that she brings to the team are her energy and confidence She has a passion for the game that is contagious. Junior Emily Gregorio also returns to the outfield. She did a great job in the outfield last year as well as being a pinch hitter and pinch runner for the 49ers. Gregorio is a very smart player that knows the game very well and can fill many roles for the team. She can play any of the three outfield positions and is a scrappy player that always battles at the plate. Nalani St. Germain will also see time in the outfield when not playing in the infield. She gained experience in the outfield last year and and did a nice job. St. Germain has tremendous speed and the team will be looking for her to cover a lot of ground when in the outfield. Newcomer, Darian Tautalafua will see action as a freshman after an impressive high school career where she tied the state record for homeruns. She will see time both in right field and third base this season.
"This is a very versatile team with a lot of great athletes that can be moved around if needed," noted Sowder. "I have been very happy with the leadership and energy we have had up to this point. Now it is time to go put it to the test."
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