Triton Softball Gears Up

    The UCSD softball team needed to kick some butt at last weekend’s 2001 Mountain Dew Softball Classic at Cal State Bakersfield.

    Unfortunately, the Tritons did not win the tournament, but with a 3-2 record over the weekend, they showed that they can hang with the best of them.

    “”That’s what our conference is about,”” said UCSD head coach Patti Gerckens. “”Any team can beat you on any given day.””

    The tournament featured 10 schools, eight of them California Collegiate Athletic Association schools, including the Tritons. The other two schools were Western New Mexico University and Western Washington University.

    UCSD fell in the semi-finals 1-0 against the host school Cal State Bakersfield. The Roadrunners’ pitcher Erin Kelly tossed a three-hitter to stifle the Tritons.

    The loss came as a shock since UCSD dominated Bakersfield 7-3 on the first day of the tournament. Leea Harlan picked up the win for the Tritons in that contest. She also helped her own cause by launching a home run. Christina Searing slammed a homer as well.

    “”We just hit the ball when we played Bakersfield the first time and the second time we didn’t,”” Gerckens said. “”We didn’t capitalize on opportunities. They did. We made one mistake defensively. They scored.””

    The other two Triton victories came 5-0 against Western Washington and 2-0 over Cal State Stanislaus.

    UCSD’s other loss was 4-1 to Cal State Dominguez Hills.

    “”We had come to win the tournament,”” Gerckens said. “”You always go in planning to win the tournament. After beating Bakersfield 7-3, I felt that we had a good shot at winning it.””

    Two Tritons, Harlan and Searing, made the All-Tournament Team.

    “”Christina just really exploded over the weekend,”” Gerckens said. “”She came through with big hits and she’s a gamer. We have three more weeks and I think she’s going to start hitting even better.””

    The team hopes to fire on all cylinders the next couple of weeks.

    “”Hopefully there will be a bigger and better tournament in the future that we’ll do better in,”” Gerckens said.

    The “”tournament”” the coach is alluding to, of course, are the playoffs. The Tritons are contenders for a berth in the postseason.

    “”That’s what we’re hoping for and we’re hoping we learned from this tournament,”” Gerckens said.

    Now, every game is important for UCSD.

    This weekend, the Tritons will hit the road to face Cal State San Bernardino on Saturday at noon. On Sunday, the Tritons return home to host Western New Mexico at 1 p.m.

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