By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Wildcats step to the mound

Redshirt senior catcher Anna Fridell making her voice heard on the field. Courtesy Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media

The CWU softball team has been training to conquer the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship title since their last game on April 30, 2023. While they ended last year with an overall season record of 21-27, this year they plan to strive toward growth and success, and are set to take on the Texas A&M International University Dustdevils on Friday, Feb. 2 at Scrap Yard Sports in Conroe, Texas.

5-foot-10 inch redshirt senior catcher, Anna Fridell, has been looking forward to this season. “I am feeling extremely excited, last year I was a transfer coming in, so everything was brand new,” Fridell said. “This year I’m coming in as a senior and feeling a lot more comfortable.” 

Head coach Joe DiPietro has coached at CWU since Nov. of 2021. Prior to his arrival at the university, he was the head coach for the University of Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio, Texas where he also served as a head coach.

“The team is very excited to begin the season in Texas, especially since they’ll be playing teams we haven’t seen before,” DiPietro said. “I know the Texas A&M International coach from when I coached in Texas, and I know he’ll have his team ready so it’s important that we’re ready to go.”

After the upcoming 2023-2024 season CWU softball will be losing 11 seniors. Though, they’ve been staying ahead and have already added 10 new faces for the 2025 season.

“The freshmen Joe has brought in are going to have an immediate impact and that’s exciting,” Fridell said. “We’ve established a good culture and going into this year we want to win, so I am excited to see how far we are going to go.”

The softball team is consistently hosting events all around town; they recently held a Winter Prospect Skills Camp on campus on Sunday, Jan. 7. At UIW, DiPietro recorded over 800 hours of community service. Instilling a similar mindset into his team, CWU softball also goes out and volunteers around town. 

5-foot-7 inch sophomore outfielder, Anika Garcia spoke about the university’s one of a kind program as well as the encouragement garnered from the town. “CWU softball is different because we have a community in Ellensburg that supports the work we put in as softball players,” Garcia said. “Also, the softball team has the highest average GPA out of all CWU athletes. This fall every player on the team took time and volunteered at elementary schools as well.”

Sophomore outfielder Anika Garcia. Courtesy Jacob Thompson/Thompson Sports Media

DiPietro insists that the relationship between players is essential to his high hopes for this upcoming season. “The biggest thing is our team chemistry,” he said. “Last year we didn’t gel like we should have, and it was a season that wasn’t fun. This year everyone is pulling for each other, and the atmosphere is great. We also are a veteran team that has been through a lot of things since they’ve been here and are ready to improve from last year.” 

While they’re determined to make this “their” season, what really matters is how connected the team is and the foundation they’ve built. 

“CWU softball faces a lot of diversity that other teams don’t,” Fridell said. “When you look at Western [Washington University], they have a lot of female sports over there. So they are really well funded, whereas over here [in Ellensburg] we don’t really get much, honestly.” 

Fridell also discussed last year’s less than ideal conditions as they were practicing in 10-degree weather during Jan. and Feb. because there was no fielding space. “We have worked extra hard to make sure we are ready to go for this season,” Fridell said.

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