Softball Looks Forward to Upcoming Season

    Softball Looks Forward to Upcoming Season

    A strong group of returners shows promise for 2016.

    Photo By Cory Wong
    Photo By Cory Wong

    The UCSD softball team came into the 2015 season with high expectations: a third-place California Collegiate Athletics Association  finish and another NCAA Division-II postseason appearance set the bar high for the Tritons. However, after splitting their final road series against Cal State East Bay, the big blue fell just short of a CCAA Championship berth for the first time since 2010. The Tritons ended their season at 25–25 overall and 15–21 in the CCAA after a 3–1 series loss at home against Cal State San Bernardino.

    The Tritons are led by Head Coach Patti Gerckens, who recorded her 600th  career win this season in a series sweep against San Francisco State last February. She has coached UCSD to six CCAA championship berths, 10 NCAA postseason appearances, one CCAA title in 2012 and a national championship win in 2012.

    Though the season ended on a disappointing note, the Triton team will return to the field next year with a strong group of returners; among these are All-CCAA honorees junior left-handed pitcher Alexis Edwards, freshman outfielder Kendall Baker, junior utility player Bianca Devoto, junior second baseman McKenna Clewett  and sophomore first baseman Emma Schneider.

    “We improved a lot over the course of the season in our ability to compete and string together as one unit to win,” Devoto told the UCSD Guardian. “We built really high expectations for ourselves and ended up surprising a lot of teams, even though we didn’t go as far as we planned to.”

    Edwards led the Triton pitching squad for the third year in a row with a 2.21 ERA and amassed 11 wins, two complete game shutouts and a career-high 56 strikeouts over the course of the season. This is her second consecutive year as a CCAA all-conference nominee — she earned First-Team All-CCAA honors in the 2014 season and was a Second-Team All-CCAA honoree for the 2015 season.

    Baker earned Second Team All-CCAA honors in her first season at UCSD. The Colorado native boasted a .278 batting average, 22 hits, 18 runs, 11 stolen bases and a 16-game on-base streak — the second longest on the team this year.

    Devoto obtained her first all-conference distinction this season as a designated player for the Tritons. The junior accumulated 16 RBIs over the course of the season and built up a .316 batting average — the second highest on her team. The Livermore recruit was also named CCAA Softball Player of the Week for the week of March 30 to April 5 after a strong performance on the road against Chico State University.

    Clewett led UCSD at the plate with a team-high .319 batting average, .424 on-base percentage, .493 slugging percentage, 24 runs, 46 hits and 18 walks. This is the Escondido native’s second all-conference distinction; she earned Second Team All-CCAA honors in 2014 and was all-conference Honorable Mention for the 2015 season.

    Schneider earned an All-CCAA Honorable Mention this season, her first all-conference honor as a Triton. The Carlsbad native led her team this year with five home runs, 22 RBIs, 14 doubles and 74 total bases run.

    Other notable players this season were freshman catcher Lauren Sanders, freshman second baseman Kendall Woken and sophomore first baseman Ashley Chestnut. Sanders was recognized as the CCAA Softball Player of the Week during the week of Feb. 2, and Woken and Chestnut both hit grand slam homers in games against Cal State Stanislaus and Cal State East Bay, respectively.

    The Tritons also recognized senior right-hander Mo Omori and senior utility Lauren Irish at the team’s final home series against Cal State San Bernardino last weekend. Omori was ranked second in the CCAA this season with four game saves and was named CCAA Pitcher of the Week for the week of February 2. Irish was a competitor both on the softball field and on the track — the Berkeley native played her first season of collegiate softball this year and also competed in track and field for the Tritons for four years.

    With a good group of returning players, UCSD will look to build on this season and make a strong run at the CCAA crown next year.

     

     

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