Sagehen Softball opened its 2012 season with two decisive wins in a doubleheader against La Sierra University on the 27th. Returning standout pitchers Carolyn Cross PO ’13 and Caitlyn Hynes PO ’14 pitched a pair of complete games to lead their team to victory.
Despite La Sierra getting on the board first in each game with scores of 1-0 and 2-0, respectively, the Hens proved to have no further trouble, holding the Golden Eagles to those numbers for final scores of 4-1 and 8-2.
Both games saw key performances from first-year players. In the fourth inning of the opener, Ashley Morello PZ ’15 and Leah Bleichner PO ’15 started the Sagehen scoring, together bringing the score to 2-1 before Ari Roach PZ ’12 and Bri Marcantoni PZ ’12 finished the inning with an RBI a piece.
In game two, the Sagehens again rallied in the fourth inning, with a double from Roach and RBIs from Marcantoni, Morello, and Shannon Julius PZ ’14 to make the score 3-2. The Sagehens continued their dominance in the fifth inning with a single from Hynes, two walks, and a double and a single from Emily Glass PO ’15 and Meagan Tokunaga PO ’15, respectively.
A young roster loaded with first-year talent is expected to give the Sagehens a boost this season. Of the 19 players on the team, seven are first-years.
“The freshmen are really good and have already helped the team a lot. I’m really excited about the team this year and how we look starting off the season,” said Sagehen Nickelle Raschick PO ’14. Also returning to the team are seven sophomores, including Hynes, who not only pitches and plays first base but also carried one of the highest batting averages on the team last year at .360.
Sagehen pitching looks promising this season with Hynes and Cross back along with sophomores Raschick and Marilyn Cresswell PO ’14, who pitched in a few games last season. New pitchers this year include Fiona Riley PO ’15 and a promising Jessica Liu PO ’15.
Cross, now playing with two seasons of experience, looks forward to this season, noting that the first-year players performed particularly well last week. Last year, Cross started in most games and struck out 103 batters. Despite the loss of power-hitter Ali Corley PZ ’11, who held the highest batting average last year, the team has depth in batting with the first-years playing a big role in scoring runs for the Hens.
Although the team is young, the Sagehens’ three seniors have a wealth of experience playing on this team. Emily Buika PZ ’12 started every game last year, providing solid defense in the outfield. Marcantoni, who plays first base, batted .331 while hitting six home runs last season. Roach plays shortstop and batted .311 last spring.
The team has overcome a few hurdles during their preparation for the season. Injuries—namely a few concussions—have kept players out of their normal practice routines.
“We’ve had some trouble with injuries but are playing well anyways and hopefully everyone will be healthy soon,” Raschick said.
In addition to their achievements on the field, Sagehen softball has one of highest team GPAs of Division III colleges. It was announced in September that Pomona-Pitzer came in fourth nationally.
This is head coach JoAnne Ferguson’s fifth year coaching Sagehen softball. Ferguson played college softball at Shippensburg University and has had a long coaching career, including working with teams at the University of Virginia and George Washington University.
The team has a rigorous season, with at least 38 games still to come. Next up for the Sagehens is an away doubleheader against Vanguard on Saturday. The next home game will be the following Friday, Feb. 10 against Pacific (Oregon).