2009 Softball Season Preview
Jan. 30, 2009
The 2009 Oregon State softball season is just days away. The start of the 2009 campaign begins Friday, Feb. 6, at the Cathedral City Kickoff in Cathedral City, Calif., against Southern Illinois at 3:00 p.m.
Here's a look at the upcoming Oregon State season as a whole.
After a disappointing 2008 season with the Oregon State softball team coming up just short of its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the Beavers are optimistic about 2009 under head coach Kirk Walker in his 15th season.
'Last year as a whole was certainly disappointing because we didn't have an opportunity to go to postseason and we didn't put ourselves in a position to continue competing for a national title,' Walker said. 'But if you look at the year broken down in segments, the Pac-10 season was not very disappointing to us. We had some great wins, and we certainly competed very hard against top teams in the country and teams that went on to compete for the national title. It was our preseason that really put us so far behind that we had a hard time recovering.
From that standpoint my biggest focus for this year is that our team is prepared, focused, ready to go out from the first game on and in position to be in the postseason. To do that we needed to see a lot more work ethic, competition and overall performance. We saw that in the fall. The freshmen have really stepped in and are very athletic, and we look forward to what they will do this season as well.'
Those freshmen include two Oregon state champions in outfielder Mary Claire Brenner (Portland, Ore./Jesuit HS) and pitcher Paige Hall (Portland, Ore./Jesuit, HS), who combined have six All-State honors with Hall also being named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2008.
Also adding to the mix is Nikki Chandler (Houston, Tex./Langham Creek HS), who coaches see making an immediate impact at shortstop. Nicole Luchanski (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada/St. Francis Xavier HS) and Ashley Sanchez (Alameda, Calif./Alameda HS) will also battle for playing time at second base and in the outfield.
A solid non-conference schedule awaits the Beavers in their preseason before the always tough Pac-10 play begins.
'Anytime you play on the West Coast or in the Pac-10, your schedule is pretty strong,' Walker said. 'I think we tried to underschedule last year and it worked against us. We're back to a more traditional schedule that we'd normally go after, which has a mix of top 25 teams in the non-conference schedule. I think we're playing some good teams that will be in the hunt for the national title early on outside their conference. Hopefully that's going to result in some good wins, but also some good learning opportunities.'
The team begins at the Cathedral City Kickoff before heading to the Louisville Slugger Invitational, hosted by UNLV. The Beavers then head back to Cathedral City for the Cathedral City Classic (formerly the Palm Springs Classic), then hits up the DiMarini Invitational, hosted by Cal State Fullerton, before wrapping up the tournament circuit at the Hawai'i Invitational. After a doubleheader against Portland State on Mar. 14, Oregon State will kick off its Pac-10 slate at home against Oregon.
After competing last season with a young squad, where three true freshmen were in the lineup every game, the Beavers are optimistic about the upcoming season despite boasting another young team after losing only one starter from last season.
'We return everyone from last year's team except for Cambria Miranda in the starting lineup and that alone gives us a lot of experience,' Walker said. 'That's going to be important for us. We're still a very young team in terms of who will be in the starting lineup for us, and we expect to have three sophomores in the starting lineup full-time and another two or three freshman in the lineup full-time. So we have six of our nine starters potentially being fairly young.
Despite the youth in the lineup, it's going to be very important that our seniors and juniors step up. We're still young but the experience we bring in from last year is huge. And we expect that will make a difference for us, hopefully right off the bat in February.'
Some of those upperclassmen returning are senior Paige Lowe (Tustin, Calif.), who will make the transition back to second base after a strong season at shortstop in 2008, which culminated in All-Pacific Region Second Team honors and an All-Pac-10 nod. Senior DeAnn Young (Camarillo, Calif.) will move to the left side in the infield, splitting time at third base with junior Alana Ford (Chula Vista, Calif.)
Behind the plate, senior Stefanie Ewing (Scottsdale, Ariz.) looks to battle back from a long-time injury to regain full catching duties. Junior Dani Chisholm (Boring, Ore.) will anchor the outfield in center field, and junior Kelly Dyer (Eugene, Ore.) emerges as the No. 1 pitcher again this season. Junior Katelyn Miller (Camarillo, Calif.) will compete for playing time in right field, while senior Kellie Roberts (Stayton, Ore.) could see time in left field.
Sophomores Erin Guzy (Beaverton, Ore.), McKenna Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) and Audrey Roderfeld (Vista, Calif.) all made substantial names for themselves after their rookie seasons. Guzy makes the move from right field to first base this season, while M. Lowe will most likely stay in left field and Roderfeld will continue with catching duties.
Oregon State opens its season on Friday, Feb. 6 at the Cathedral City Kickoff against Southern Illinois at 3:00 p.m.
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Be Authentic, Gear Up Before Each Game
Support Oregon State Athletics by gearing up with the latest apparel from new game day and online store - Beaver Authentics. This season's new line of hats, tees, jerseys, tailgating needs, souvenirs along with women's and youth apparel is now in. Be authentic, buy today at Beaver Authentics and directly support the Beavers.
Oregon State Department of Athletics:
Oregon State University is a member of the 'Conference of Champions' the Pac-10 Conference and supports approximately 500 student-athletes in 17 intercollegiate sports. The accomplishments of these student-athletes excelling in the classroom, in the community, in competition and in life are displayed in the innovative 'everyday champions' program. Beaver student-athletes have graduated and gone on to be business leaders, physicians, engineers, foresters, teachers, counselors, scientists and much more. Some have even won medals in the Olympics or made it to the NFL, NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and to other professional leagues.
Since 2000 over $115 million in facility and program enhancements have been completed for Beaver sports with another $40 million currently planned.
Oregon State is located in Corvallis, which is ranked in the top-15 nationally for livability, education, safety and sustainability.
Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. You can make an 'everyday champion.'