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The Observer

Softball heats up for 2019 amidst winter frenzy

Softball+has+officially+begun+for+the+2019+season.+Although+it%E2%80%99s+a+new+season%2C+training+has+been+nothing+unfa-%0Amiliar+as+the+team+has+been+putting+in+work+since+the+beginning+of+last+fall+as+seen+here.
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Softball heats up for 2019 amidst winter frenzy

Softball has officially begun for the 2019 season. Although it’s a new season, training has been nothing unfa-
miliar as the team has been putting in work since the beginning of last fall as seen here.

Softball has officially begun for the 2019 season. Although it’s a new season, training has been nothing unfa- miliar as the team has been putting in work since the beginning of last fall as seen here.

Softball has officially begun for the 2019 season. Although it’s a new season, training has been nothing unfa- miliar as the team has been putting in work since the beginning of last fall as seen here.

Softball has officially begun for the 2019 season. Although it’s a new season, training has been nothing unfa- miliar as the team has been putting in work since the beginning of last fall as seen here.

Hanson Lee, Sports Editor

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About three weeks into the regular season and the Wildcats have strung together an early season record of 5-3. Head coach Michael Larabee has been pleased with the team’s performance on the season thus far and is proud of how the team has been able to play on both sides of the ball. Larabee detailed that the team still needs to tighten up the left side of the defense, specifically with the third base and shortstop positions, and on pitching, specifically with throwing runners out.

Snow across the pacific northwest has made matchups unpredictable so far this year, with six games already having been cancelled for the Wildcats this season.

So far, the team has missed outings with Humboldt State University, San Francisco State University, Hawaii Hilo University, Dixie State University and most recently Pacific Lutheran University. Nonetheless, Larabee stated that the team has continued to maintain a high level of focus when it comes to putting in the work and staying zoned in on what matters.

“I’ve been really pleased… We’ve had some phenomenal practices, the enthusiasm, the energy,” Larabee said. “Our mantra is learn, grow and get better and that’s what they’ve done… You can’t control the weather, but they can control their effort, their attitude and their enthusiasm that they bring to practice each day.”

With only Celine Fowler, Jacie McDaniels, Samantha Gorham and Taelor Griffin missing this season from last year’s squad, the Wildcats still find themselves with a solid number of returners for 2019. With eight upperclassmen rostered for the Wildcats this season as a result, experience is going to be a quality aspect when it comes to making the most of 2019.

“The GNAC is a very competitive conference and we have the ability to win our fourth straight conference championship,” Larabee said. “We definitely have the talent, we just need to make sure we go out and play to our potential and I think we’ll be in great shape.”

Third baseman Savannah Egbert has continued to grow for the Wildcats and has shown how strong she is at the plate. In 22 at-bats this season, the junior continues to impact her team’s performance on the offensive end with a team high batting average of .455. Egbert expressed that keeping a team oriented mindset is what truly gets the job done, even when it boils down to her individual success.

“I think as a whole, all of us are expected to play at that level from our coach and from each other,” Egbert said. “I think we feed off of each other and we expect to play at a high level.”

Sophomore starting pitcher Lexie Strasser is looking to have a similar impact for the Wildcats on the mound. In her freshman year as a Wildcat, the right-hander showed why she was a future ace for her Wildcat teammates, pulling together an impressive overall record of 18-10 and an ERA of 2.91, good enough to earn herself a unanimous first-team All-GNAC selection. Now in her second year, Strasser has already made opposing batters feel her presence with a current ERA of 1.98 and an opponent’s batting average of .189.

“I’ve been working on placing the ball this year,” Strasser said. “I think that’s turned out really well.”

Currently in the midst of an early two-game skid, coming at the hands of Colorado Mesa University and Cal State East Bay, the Wildcats are looking to hit the diamond and get back to their winning ways.

Up next, the team will look to deliver a strong performance at the 2019 Cavalier Classic, hosted by fellow GNAC competitor Concordia University, down in Portland, Oregon. The classic will consist of eight teams, with games being played from Feb. 22 through Feb. 24 at Porter Park.

“We gotta tighten up our defense and we gotta get some people going offensively,” Larabee said. “It should be pretty good competition.”

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