No. 11/12 California Opens Season at Kajikawa Classic

Feb. 11, 2010

BERKELEY - The No. 11/12 California softball team is set to kick off its trek to Oklahoma City with this weekend's season-opening games at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. The Golden Bears will begin the year against Texas A&M on Friday, Feb. 12 at 11:30 a.m. followed by Wisconsin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 will feature a doubleheader for Cal beginning with Western Michigan (noon)and facing Kentucky (4:30 p.m.) to close the day. Portland State will be the final opponent of the weekend for Cal on Sunday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. (All times PST).

About the Kajikawa Classic
California joins 25 other teams for the four-day tournament in Tempe, Ariz The tourney, which is spread out over five different fields, begins Thursday, Feb. 11 and concludes Sunday, Feb. 12. For directions, more information and results, please consult the event's Website at http://thesundevils.cstv.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/kajikawa-10.html or by clicking here.

Q&A With the Golden Bears
Each week, CalBears.com will be showcasing the Golden Bears in Q&A, and this week's feature is on sophomore infielder Amy Bishop. As the California softball team gears up for its challenging and promising 2010 campaign, Amy Bishop is quite the example of a talented student-athlete. When she's not practicing with the No. 11/12 squad in the country at Levine-Fricke Field, she's in class or volunteering her time as a member of the Cal's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. A Southern California native hailing from Glendale, Bishop has made a smooth transition into life in Berkeley. CalBears.com snagged a moment of the 5-8 righty's time to chat about all things Amy.

To read the Q&A with Amy, please click here.

Last Time Out

 

Opponent All-Time Record Last Meeting Score, Winner
Texas A&M 4-10 2/26/05 5-2, A&M
Wisconsin 8-2 2/12/09 2-0, Cal
Western Michigan 1-2 2/16/08 8-0, Cal
Kentucky First-time meeting
Portland State 16-2 3/18/05 6-0, Cal

Top of the Rankings to Ya!
In the preseason rankings, the Bears faired quite well. Cal was ranked 11th in the country, according to the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll after finishing in the 12 spot in the final 2009 ranking. During the 2010 regular season, the Bears will face off against nine of the other 24 teams in that poll, including defending national champion Washington. The Bears were ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll.

Opening Day
Cal will look to repeat history in the first game of the season against Texas A&M. The Bears have not lost an opening-day game since 1997. They extended that streak in the initial game of last year thanks to a 10-2 win over then-No. 13 Houston. Additionally, in last year's demolishing of the Cougars, Cal scored 10+ runs for the third time in the past four years in the season lid lifter.

Remembering Last Season
Last year, Cal qualified for the postseason for the 24th consecutive season, the second-longest streak in the nation and the longest in the Pac-10. The Bears won their NCAA Regional at Florida State before falling at top-seeded Florida in the Super Regionals. Over the course of the year, the Bears broke team records for stolen bases (146) and home runs (55).

Who's on First
After losing just three starters from last year's squad, the Bears look poised for even greater success this season with eight returning starters and six talented newcomers. A key returner for Cal will be junior pitcher/ utility player Valerie Arioto, who earned a slew of honors last season - Easton All-American second team, Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American third team and All-Pacific first team, and first-team All-Pac-10. Other All-Pacific Region first-teamers Marissa Drewrey and Jamia Reid will also come back for the Bears. Also returning are All-Pac-10 honorable mentions Vernae Sevilla and Shannon Thomas. The Bears will be joined by freshmen Jolene Henderson and Lindsey Ziegenhirt, who were named to the EA Sports All-American team, as well as Jayme Goodwin, Diane Leider, Jordan Wallace and sophomore transfer Jace Williams.

Arioto Named to ASA Top-50 Watch List
Valerie Arioto was selected to the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA)'s initial watch list for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Arioto, who is an alternate for the U.S. senior national team, earned placement on the list last year as well.

Bears on the National Scene
Vicky Galindo, a three-year letterwinner for the California softball team, accepted a spot on the U.S. national team and current junior standout Valerie Arioto was named an alternate, the Amateur Softball Association announced recently. Arioto and Galindo attended the 2010 softball women's national team selection camp, which was held in Chula Vista, Calif., from Jan. 4-8. Galindo was one of 17 athletes who were offered a USA Softball Athlete Agreement for the 2010 season. The final roster for the 2010 USA softball women's national team will be announced in March. The squad will be competing in the ISF Women's World Championships, held June 23-July 2 in Caracas, Venezuela as well as other events to be scheduled at a later date.

Hall of Fame Status
California head coach Diane Ninemire was inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's 2009 Hall of Fame class in December. Ninemire, who joined Frank Cheek of Humboldt State University and Bill Edwards of Hofstra University, was inducted in front of the NFCA, former Golden Bears, her colleagues and family members at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. During Ninemire's tenure at Cal, 35 All-America, 86 all-region and 146 all-conference certificates have been issued to the Bears. Since her first year in the dugout in 1988, Diane Ninemire has continually taken the Bears to new heights as one of the winningest and most successful softball programs in the nation. From 1999-2005, Cal made seven straight trips to the College World Series, and Ninemire has one national championship, nine Women's College World Series trips, and 21 straight NCAA Regional appearances to her credit.

The Paparazzi
Like any of the pictures on CalBears.com? They are available for purchase! GoldenBearSports.com, the official photographer of the Cal Athletics Department, has meet photos available for purchase on their Website at GoldenBearSports.com. Check out the photo galleries by GoldenBearSports.com by clicking here.

Next Week on the Diamond
The Bears continue their stretch of tournament games, this time traveling to Las Vegas for the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic from Friday, Feb. 20-Sunday, Feb. 21. The Bears will meet Illinois-Chicago (Feb. 19, 9 a.m.), Utah (Feb. 19, 11:15 a.m.), Northwestern (Feb. 20, 11:15 a.m.), Oklahoma (Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m.) and Georgia Tech (Feb. 21, 9 a.m.).

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