Ellensburg to Las Vegas: an early look at CWU Softball

Pheobe Lai, Staff Reporter

The CWU Softball team is starting their season with a tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Montana State University Billings (MSUB) Desert Stinger tournament will give the team a chance to get some experience before the conference season starts. The tournament will run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

When it comes to preparing for the tournament, head coach Alison Mitchell feels confident in her team. 

“We have been working really hard, covering a lot of the game and just trying to get some new procedures and plays, so it’s been a lot thrown out on the team,” Mitchell said. “However, they did a really good job responding to it.” 


Even though Mitchell has only coached the team for less than a month, the team has still been preparing for the tournament during the offseason. 

“I’m challenging [the team] a bit more mentally I think than what they are used to, so I’m excited to see how it plays out,” Mitchell said.  

Both junior infielders Sydney Brown and Mikayla Kopacz feel well-prepared for the tournament. According to Brown, the team has learned a lot of new things since fall quarter. She also said the team is putting more and more together every day, so she thinks the team is ready for the tournament.

According to Mitchell, the team practices six days a week. She also said players get an individual practice time depending on positions once a week. Players have conditioning and lifting on alternate days.

Kopacz said the team is going to be well-prepared because they have been putting in a good amount of work on a weekly basis. She said the practices this month are going to be “pretty advanced.”


As head coach, Mitchell has high expectations for the team and will challenge the team in every way she can. 

“I’m gonna take every moment I can as a coach to challenge them as athletes, and I expect them to push themselves,” Mitchell said.

Kopacz said she also has expectations for the team going into the tournament. She thinks it’s going to be nice to have their coach there and that will make them comfortable. She also trusts that her teammates will get game experience while having fun. 


Mitchell, Kopacz and Brown all agreed the tournament is important to them. 

Courtesy of Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports

“I think it’s very important because it shows us what we need to work on, what our strengths are and so we can come back and work harder,” Brown said.

Kopacz mentioned it’s nice to see where the competition might be and what they need to prepare for in the future.

The tournament can be a good opportunity for the team to see what their weaknesses are so they can try to eliminate them moving forward. Mitchell said the team will grow as they get more experience.

“I think every game is important. It is an opportunity that you can learn a lot about yourself, about your team and really just take an opportunity to grow,” Mitchell said.

The team will take on five opponents in the span of three days. The opponents, in order, will be Oklahoma Christian University, San Francisco State University, California State University San Bernardino, Regis University and Colorado Christian University. The first two games are on Jan. 31, the third and fourth games are on Feb. 1 and the final game is on Feb. 2.