California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Regals Have Big Expectations for 2016 Season

The California Lutheran University softball team is looking to start this season the way it finished the last—strong. After having the best season in California Lutheran University history, the Regals will try to continue their success in the hopes of once again making it to the top four and participating in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Postseason Tournament. Chances of achieving this goal are high thanks to 13 returners and five newcomers looking to work hard and have more team success.

“We’re definitely trying to build off last years success. We have 13 returners so they all come in with that as their background and know what it took to get there and therefore know what it will take to do better,” said head coach Debby Day. “I think we have a pretty good understanding of what needs to be done.”

Leading the team to success since her freshman year is senior captain Blake Lewis, who led the team offensively with a .379 batting average and a .455 on-base percentage. She had 47 hits, 13 doubles and four homeruns last season and was also named First Team All-SCIAC along with being an All-West Region selection to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) in 2015.

“We had a really good season, the best in Cal Lutheran history last year, so we want to build on that and keep winning and getting better as a team,” Lewis said.

Junior standout pitcher Courtney Sooy will be looked towards on the mound as she tries to better her already successful career. Tossing 165.2 innings with 31 appearances, 87 strikeouts and a 3.76 ERA, the Northridge, California native will be a big key to the team’s success. Returning to catch in the 2016 season is senior Taylor Beacham alongside sophomore Abbigael Howard.

Another returning powerhouse for the Regals includes sophomore Olivia Leyva, who earned All-SCIAC honors as a freshman. Leyva contributed a .320 batting average with 23 RBIs and 28 runs scored within her first season. She will be making the transition from outfield to first base but is not fazed with the challenges the infield may bring.

“I’m not playing left field anymore. I’m a first baseman now, so I’m definitely trying to master that position,” Leyva said. “Moving to the infield in general has been great but at the same time, after doing a year of outfield you tend to do things differently than from the infield.”

Returning sophomores Scooter Rapisardi, Makenna Pellerin, Jacy Watanabe and Mikaela Mayhew will fill the remaining positions in the infield. Rapisardi will return to shortstop, where she started in all 41 games as a freshman, while Pellerin will maintain playing second base and try to better her .338 batting average from last season. Watanabe and Mayhew started their freshman seasons in the outfield, and will be breaking into the infield for their second year on the squad.

Junior Amanda Lewis and senior Hannah Brown are the returning leaders in the outfield and are looking to improve upon successful 2015 campaigns. Amanda Lewis was depended on to be the consistent right fielder while also helping offensively with the second best batting average on the team with a .359. Brown, who transferred from Moorpark College, was the starting centerfielder last season, appearing in 34 games and maintaining a .288 batting average.

“I want to be a brick wall at center. I want my pitchers to trust me in the outfield and for them to know that I got their back if a ball is hit to me,” Brown said. The Simi Valley native has big offensive ambitions for this season as well. “I want to move runners as much as I can and do my job at the plate. If they’re on base I want them to know that I’ll move them,” Brown said.

Looking for a comeback to the Regal squad is sophomore Emily Manwell and senior Andrea Brackpool. Manwell played in seven games her first year, while Brackpool started 34 games maintaining a .250 batting average and scoring 16 runs and one homerun in her sophomore year and missed the entire 2015 season due to injury.

Rounding out the squad includes junior transfers Monique Ramirez and Nicole Madolora, freshmen Alyssa Anderson and Scarlett Pettine, and senior transfer Brittany Reed. Madolora and Anderson hope to help better the Violet and Gold through their pitching efforts, while Pettine and Reed intend to improve an already stellar outfield. Ramirez hopes to use her talents in the infield and see her team have another successful season as a result.

“I think we just need to come together as a team and be in the final four. That was one of the goals that we as a team mainly talked about and being in that top four would be a huge success.” Ramirez said.

McKay Weiler
Staff Writer
Published February 3rd, 2016

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