#14 California Softball 2014 Preview

California Golden Bears

Overall Rank: #14
Conference Rank: #3 Pac-12
#14 California Softball 2014 Preview
California Team Page


A strong non-conference schedule was the only thing that saved California from staying home after the Pac-12 Conference schedule played itself out. The Golden Bears won 28 of their 33 games away from the Pac-12 but a 10-14 record in the league was a hindrance. Can California rebound from its lack of success in the league and on the road and get back to 40 victories or more? It all will depend on one word: pitching.

2013: 38-19, 10-14
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Diane Ninemire

Field Players:
Top home run hitter Lindsey Ziegenhirt slammed 17 home runs a year ago, but she graduated from the program and took all those long balls with her. However, three other hitters had ten or more home runs and that should help offset the loss of Ziegenhirt’s power. Cheyenne Cordes (.315-10-34) leads the parade, followed by Danielle Henderson (.299-11-34) and Victoria Jones (.278-11-30). Top hitter Khala Taylor is gone and that will cost the Golden Bears some speed because Taylor had 15 of California’s 35 stolen bases. Four of the six hitters who had averages above .250 are back, and that should bode well for a California team trying to overcome the competition and climb in the standings.

This is an area that could be a problem. Jolene Henderson, who had a 32-11 record, 1.22 earned run average and 267 strikeouts, is among the graduates from the Golden Bears. Nisa Ontiveros, Nikki Owens and Vanessa Alvarez are all back, but there are some pitfalls. Of this trio of pitchers Ontiveros has the best ERA, but a 6.06 ERA is not the ideal one to have when you are leading a softball squad. If the pitching does not come around in 2014 California could have a very long season. There is a possibility one incoming player might help…

Who to Watch:
Help may be around the corner for California’s pitching concerns if Australian freshman Stephanie Trzcinski can produce. Trzcinski has played for the Australian U19 national squad for the past four years, and she was voted Best Pitcher for her U17 team in 2012 and her U19 team in 2013. Will Ninemire go with her established pitchers or give Trzcinski a try? The odds are she will work Trczinski into the rotation slowly and gradually, and if Trzcinski can respond to the challenges of American softball, Golden Bears fans will breathe a bit easier.

Final Projection:
California has a hard road ahead of it. The projections are for the Golden Bears to finish in the upper half of the Pac 12, but this is contingent on how well the pitching works out. There is enough power to help the Golden Bears stay relevant in the conference softball race, but if the pitching struggles then it could be a long season in the Bay Area. Still, California has always had a reputation as a solid softball power that overcomes adversity, and the odds are strong the team will win at least 30-35 games.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Cheyenne Cordes, IF, 178
Hits: Cheyenne Cordes, IF, 56
Home Runs: Danielle Henderson, IF, 11; Victoria Jones, IF, 11
RBIs: Cheyenne Cordes, IF, 34; Danielle Henderson, IF, 34
Runs: Cheyenne Cordes, IF, 36
Stolen Bases: Ashley Decker, OF, 5

Wins: Nisa Ontiveros, P, 4
Innings Pitched: Nisa Ontiveros, P, 54.1
Strikeouts: Nisa Ontiveros, P, 31
Saves: None

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#4 Kylie Reed
#13 Katie Sutherland-Finch


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