2010 Softball Season Preview

Feb. 5, 2010

The 2010 Oregon State softball season is just days away. The start of the 2010 campaign begins Friday, Feb. 12, at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., against Ole Miss at 8:30 a.m. PT.


Check osubeavers.com in coming days for a further look into the 2010 season. And follow Oregon State softball on Twitter -- OregonStateSB.


The Oregon State softball team, coming off its 13th consecutive 25-plus win season looks to return to the NCAA Tournament that it has just missed the past two seasons. Head coach Kirk Walker, the all-time winningest coach in Oregon State softball history begins his 16th season at the helm.


We feel great about the team personality and focus,” Walker said. “We definitely feel that we have a great balance of power and speed in our lineup. I think weve got tremendous depth and flexibility. Our greatest challenge will be if we have the right people stepping out at the right time and will we see someone emerge as the leader offensively that we will rally behind. Weve seen that we have great potential to score a lot of runs, and I think if all falls into place were going to be definitely putting a lot more positive runs on the board and supporting our pitchers, so they dont have to be perfect all of the time.”


The Beavers return 14 from last season including All-Pac-10 second team junior catcher/utility Audrey Roderfeld (Vista, Calif.), Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honoree sophomore outfielder Ashley Sanchez (Alameda, Calif.) and Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention award winners sophomores shortstop Nikki Chandler (Houston, Texas) and pitcher Paige Hall (Portland, Ore.). The returnees are comprised of five seniors, three juniors and six sophomores.


I think Nikki Chandler has come in with a lot more confidence and composure,” Walker said. “Obviously having played as a starter in every game at shortstop is overwhelming for a freshman, and I definitely think shes coming in more comfortable and with more confidence. And her bat has definitely been much improved this fall. Alana Ford is playing and hitting the ball extremely well. Were hoping that were going to see the aggressive offense that shes capable of. Behind the plate, Audrey Roderfeld has been swinging the bat extremely well. Shes dealt with some injury issues a little bit, in terms of getting fully healthy, but has done a great job with working with our pitchers behind the plate. And shes so consistent for us in swinging the bat.


Joining the team this season are six new faces in utility Lea Cavestany (Pittsburg, Calif.), pitcher/utility Marina Demore (Vancouver, British Columbia), second baseman Maggie Doremus (San Diego, Calif.), catcher/utility Allison Kutz (Mt. Vernon, Wash.), utility Kilee Lippincott (Lake Chelan, Wash.) and first base/outfield Bailee Niehus (McMinnville, Ore.).


Weve got a great group of freshmen that have come in and have really stepped right in and made an impact and a presence known on the field,” Walker said. “Lea Cavestany swings the bat exceptionally well and is extremely versatile. We dont know if shell be in one position or playing several, but she certainly made an impact that makes her valuable to have her in the lineup every day. Allison Kutz is a very talented hitter and should definitely be playing with us either behind the plate or first base and will see a lot of playing time. Kilee Lippincott has come in and definitely showed us a tremendous work ethic and has a lot of physical talent, very quick. Shes definitely learning the level of this game and making some adjustments offensively and taking advantage of her speed. She certainly will fill a great role for us right off the bat with her speed that we lost with Cristy Hatton and Kellie Roberts. Maggie Doremus obviously comes in with a lot of experience and talent. We expect her to fill Paige Lowes shoes right away and jump into the lineup defensively. Offensively, she really had a tremendous fall, and we think she could certainly be in the top part of the lineup. If not, shell be a great table setter in that middle half of the lineup.


The 55-game season begins at the Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State, followed by the Texas A&M Aggie Invite. The team then travels to Cathedral City for the seventh annual Cathedral City Classic before heading to Fullerton, Calif., for the CSUF Worth Classic. Bringing back the Cascade Clash at home on March 12-13, followed by the SDSU Aztec Invite, closes out the non-conference tournament schedule.


We obviously have a great preseason schedule, playing some good competition out of region and traveling to some new locations,” Walker said. “Were heading down to Texas A&M, providing a great opportunity for experience to play in that environment at a quality facility. I think weve got a diverse group of teams that were facing throughout that pre-Pac-10 season, and I think it will be very important that we play well and play consistently because most of the teams that are playing, despite if theyre ranked or have high RPIs are very capable of beating anybody.


This is the final day in the five-part preview of the 2010 season. To read about the catchers, click here, to check out the infield, click here, to learn about the pitchers, click here and more on the outfield, click here.


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