California Officially Begins Practice for the 2008 Season

Jan. 15, 2008

Berkeley - The California softball program held its first official team practice for the 2008 season on Monday, Jan. 14, at Levine-Fricke Field. The spring campaign begins on February 8 at the Palm Springs Classic when the Golden Bears take on UC Riverside and San Diego State in the first day of action.

'Our offense was one of the best we've ever had last season,' said head coach Diane Ninemire. 'I think that our pitching is getting stronger every day, and if we can get everything going at the same time, we will be a force to be reckoned with.'

The Golden Bears return six position starters plus two starting pitchers. Cal also has three seniors on the 2008 squad - Julie Meyer, Erika Racklin and Katie Vickers. 'I feel we have good leadership in the infield and the outfield,' said Ninemire. 'These seniors will help our team get to where they need to be to make another championship run.'

Cal also welcomes five newcomers to the team this season - Valerie Arioto, Carrie Arth, Lauren Bauer, Savannah Hensley and Sanoe Kekahuna.

One staple with the Cal program has always been the consistently tough non-conference schedules before a grind it out grueling Pac-10 slate. The Bears this season face perennial powers such as Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Hawaii, Mississippi State and Nebraska, before opening conference play at home versus Arizona State on March 28.

Ninemire's Golden Bears finished the 2007 season with 34 wins and a 22nd consecutive berth in the NCAA postseason (the longest active postseason streak in the Pac-10 and second-longest in the nation). According to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), Cal boasted the fourth-hardest strength of schedule in the nation's No. 1-rated conference. With a squad that featured seven freshmen, the Bears posted eight wins against top 25 teams.

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