CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Softball team is ready to begin its 2017 season this weekend at home against Pacific Lutheran.
The Sagehens come into this season with heavy dose of underclassmen as the team has two seniors, six juniors, three sophomores and seven freshmen.
Seniors Sofia Baig and Bianca Cockrell will help lead the team this season in the field. Baig comes into this season after starting the last two seasons in left field. Baig tallied 18 hits and was fourth on the team in runs scored with 11.
Cockrell had a breakout season last year as she earned First Team All-Conference honors as she led the Sagehens in batting average (.384), home runs (6) and RBI's (17). Cockrell also saw time on the mound during her junior year as she earned two wins and tallied 28 strikeouts.
The Sagehens also return sophomore Liz Rodarte who earned Co-Newcomer of the Year and First Team All-SCIAC as a pitcher last season. Rodarte led the Sagehens on the mound with nine wins and set a school record with 126 strikeouts. She also spent time at first base as she hit .306 with six doubles and 16 RBI.
Her batterymate this season will be junior Natalie Ireland. Ireland spent all of 2016 behind the plate for the Sagehens as she hit for a .250 average and tallied 10 RBI during her sophomore season.
Junior Kelsey Buchanan returns for her junior season and will see most of her time between the DH and an outfield spot this season. Buchanan finished second on the team with a .344 batting average and led the team with 42 hits last season.
Also filling out the outfield will be juniors Missy Pekarek and Haylee Sindt. Pekarek appeared in 36 games last season and saw most of her action in right field. She played a key role on the base path for the Sagehens as she led the team with 10 stolen bases. Sindt saw time in 22 games last season and was a solid pinch hitting option for the Sagehens late in games. She will look to see time in the outfield this season.
Returners in the infield will be juniors Emily Rockhill and Sam Carlson and sophomores Kristen Hong and Baleigh McCuskey. Rockhill batted .281 in conference last season to go along with seven RBI and six doubles. She split time on the mound last season and tallied two wins with a save and 35 total strikeouts.
Carlson was the Sagehens' primary third baseman last season. She batted .255 in conference play and drove in nine runners and tallied 12 walks on the year. Hong will see time in the infield this season as well as contribute as a pitcher for the Sagehens in 2017. She pitched for the Sagehens in 2016 as she appeared in eight games and held a 3.39 earned run average. McCuskey will see time this season behind the plate as she backed up Ireland a season ago.
The Sagehens can expect big things out of their large freshman class as the newcomers will see significant time this season in their first collegiate seasons.
Izzy Deatherage will provide the Sagehens with an immediate presence at shortstop this season while Olivia Campion will battle for a spot in the corner infield. Marya Ornelas will also begin the year seeing significant time in center fielder while Alondra Reynoso will begin the year in the starting rotation. Maddy Kim and Rachel Fong will work their way into the outfield throughout the season and Kendal Kipper will provide depth in the middle infield this season.
Pomona-Pitzer will first host Pacific Lutheran on Friday, February 3rd with a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m.