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Another stellar year for softball

April 22, 2005

Photos of Gator pitchers Sonja Garnett and Holly PearceWith 13 players -- nine of them starters -- back from last year's record-breaking season, the women's softball team already knows what it feels like to be a winners. This year, the Gators are on a roll again and expect to return to the NCAA Division II National Championships to compete against other top teams in the West Region.

"The key factors in our success thus far have been pitching and defense," said Coach Kristi Lansford, the 2004 conference coach of the year. "When those components are working well, we usually win."

Led by pitching duo Sonja Garnett and Holly Pearce, the softball team is ranked 20th in the National Fastpitch Coaches Division II Top 25 Poll and fourth in the West Region. Both juniors were named to the All-Tournament Team at the Easton Tournament of Champions held April 1-3 in Modesto.

Photo of Chrissy Hildebrandt trying for a double playThe Gators left the Easton Tournament winning the Silver Championship Bracket with a 6-1 record. Lansford said she agrees that last year's successes have definitely helped give the players a winning outlook this year.

And the players have the credentials to prove it. Garnett, last year's Wilson California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Pitcher of the Year and All-CCAA First Team member, was named the CCAA Pitcher of the Week four times this season, improving upon last year's three times. Senior slugger Chrissy Hildebrandt earned the CCAA's Player of the Week title with a .571 batting average during the first week of March. Two weeks later, third baseman Nicole Hartfield's base stealing and sharp fielding gave SFSU another Player of the Week at the pinnacle of an 11-game winning streak.

The Gators now stand in second place in the CCAA, behind Cal State Dominguez Hills.

The softball team has high hopes for this weekend's Mountain Dew Classic NCAA Tournament at Cal State Bakersfield. The Gators swept last year's tournament, winning all seven games. Lansford expects the team to defend its Mountain Dew Classic Champion title successfully.

"Although we have been struggling a little in the past few weeks, we expect to win and believe we can win," she said.

For results of this weekend's tournament action, see the Athletics Web site.

-- Student Writer Lisa Rau with William Morris


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Last modified April 22, 2005 by University Communications