2017 was largely a year to forget for the Pomona-Pitzer softball team (13-27, 9-19 SCIAC), but one positive has carried over to 2018: the success of Liz Rodarte PZ ’19.
Rodarte, a two-way player, batted .384 with 43 hits, 11 doubles, and six home runs in 2017. From the pitcher’s mound, she posted a 2.47 ERA with 110 strikeouts, racking up nine of the team’s 13 total wins. Her work earned first team All-SCIAC and second team All-West Region honors as a utility player.
And now, Rodarte has her team (3-1, 1-1 SCIAC) off to an auspicious start this season.
The Sagehens swept the University of Puget Sound in a doubleheader last Friday, then split their two games against Occidental College Saturday.
In the first game against Puget Sound, Rodarte threw the first no-hitter of her career, striking out 14 batters, and hammered a two-run home run to center field. In the second game, she added another two-run shot to center, and played first base.
“Being a two-way player does change my approach in that I get a better sense of the umpire’s strike zone and give insight to my teammates,” Rodarte said. “It also motivates me in that I can help both score and keep the other team from scoring.”
She doesn’t have to do it all alone — the team features five returning seniors, each of whom knows what it takes to be successful on the field. Kelsey Buchanan PO ’18 boasts an impressive .385 career batting average, while Haylee Sindt PZ ’18 slugged .328 last season. Also returning to lead the team are Natalie Ireland PZ ’18, Missy Pekarek PZ ’18, and Emily Rockhill PO ’18.
With six first-years, four sophomores, and three juniors, their leadership will be essential.
“We have great team chemistry this year and it’s showing through on the field and in our training sessions,” coach JoAnne Ferguson said. “I’m impressed with how well they are playing together already and we’ve only had a few games. This season the team is laser-focused on working hard together.”
Rodarte echoed her coach’s sentiment.
“Team chemistry is huge in the game,” she agreed. “We need to trust each other on the field and know that we’ve got each other’s backs, whether it be cheering each other on or picking each other up.”
The Sagehens will next travel to University of Redlands for a double-header Friday.