2012 Season Features
Freshman Follow-Up: Q&A With Breana Kostreba (July 11, 2012): After an epic freshman year, CalBears.com wanted to catch up with the freshmen to see how things went. Our first Q&A is with Breana Kostreba, who earned her way into a starting position in the outfield. An Aptos, Calif., native, Kostreba's athletic prowess earned her an All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and landed her on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team. CalBears.com chatted up Kostreba to hear how her first year in the Blue & Gold went.
Donning the Blue & Gold - a Q&A With the Bears (June 20, 2012): Through all the years of youth leagues, travel ball, high school games, members of the California softball team have worn their fair share of uniforms. However, when they put on the Golden Bear uniform for the first time, it's an entirely different experience. Earning the privilege to don the Blue & Gold of the University of California is a very special experience, and CalBears.com talked to the Bears to find out what the Cal uniform means to them.
Bears Prepare for Friday Night Lights (May 18, 2012): Though it's a phrase normally reserved for the gridiron, the California softball team has adopted "Friday Night Lights" as the theme for the Golden Bears' first game in the Berkeley Regional. On Friday, May 18, No. 1 seed Cal takes on Iona at 7 p.m. under the lights at Levine-Fricke Field in serene Strawberry Canyon. Not only is this the first postseason game in Berkeley since 1993, but it's the first time in program history that the Bears have played under lights on their home turf.
Senior Q&A With Frani Echavarria (May 10, 2012): After she earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention laurels, Frani Echavarria almost doubled her batting average between her first and second years. In 2010 as a sophomore she was third on the team, batting .339, and was named to the All-Pac-10 team. Last season, Frani was fourth on the squad in hitting and batted a team-high .458 in the NCAA Tournament. The first person in her family to attend college, Frani will graduate with a degree in sociology. Heading into her final Pac-12 weekend, Frani graciously lent some time to CalBears.com to talk about her time in Berkeley.
Senior Q&A With Valerie Arioto (May 7, 2012): Though she has already enjoyed commencement exercises - donning the cap and gown in December - senior Valerie Arioto finished her academic collegiate career two weeks ago. Arioto further capped off her time in Berkeley on May 3 by receiving the Tom Hansen Pac-12 Medal, which is given to the top male and female senior student-athletes at each member institution. After redshirting her true senior season last year, Arioto paces the starters, hitting .398 with an incredible 1.009 slugging percentage thanks to her 21 homers. Additionally, she set a new Bear program record with her 20th homer of the year on April 22. CalBears.com sat down with the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalist to talk all things Berkeley.
Senior Q&A With Jace Williams (May 3, 2012): In just three short years in Berkeley, senior second baseman Jace Williams has certainly made her mark. As a sophomore in 2010, she started all 62 games, was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention after slugging .390 and owning a .447 on-base percentage. Last year, she earned herself placement on the NFCA All-Pacific Region first team, the All-Pac-10 second team and merited Easton third-team All-America status and a Pac-10 all-academic honorable mention. Thanks to her academic prowess, Williams finished her degree requirements a semester early and will graduate with a bachelor's of science in psychology. With her classes complete, CalBears.com relished the chance to talk all things Cal with Williams.
Senior Q&A With Elia Reid (April 30, 2012): With Senior Day just a couple weeks away, CalBears.com is catching up with all of the seniors, and today's Q&A participant is Elia Reid. Last season, Reid was named an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention and the March 7 Player of the Week. During conference play her sophomore year, she led the Bear starters by hitting .327, playing primarily in right field. Meriting 52 starts as a freshman in 2009, she was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team after racking up 26 steals, 27 RBI and six homers. Elia Reid graciously lent her time to CalBears.com to talk about her time with the Bears.
Vincent Balances Softball with Double Major (April 27, 2012): To say that sophomore catcher Taylor Vincent was destined to become a Golden Bear is slightly hyperbolic. But only slightly. During her freshman year at Pleasanton's Foothill High School, former Cal greats Vicky Galindo and Lindsay James coached Vincent in fall ball. Soon after, teacher Chris Gibbons, a centerfielder for the Bears baseball team from 1982-83, ignited in Vincent a passion for physics. A talented athlete and an even more gifted student with such connections seemed to indicate that Vincent was fated to become a Golden Bear. Well, almost.
Q&A on Bebe - Cal Softball's Adopted Teammate (April 26, 2012): The Golden Bears carry Bebe Wiggs with them wherever they go. Bebe has her own locker and lounge chair inside the California softball team's locker room at the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance. BW adorns the batting helmets. But even more important is the impact that Bebe has had on the lives of the Bears. This Sunday, Bebe and her family will join the Bears at Levine-Fricke Field. To show just how much she means to this team, CalBears.com asked all the Bears and coaches about what it's like having Bebe as an honorary teammate.
Senior Q&A With Jamia Reid (April 25, 2012): With Senior Day just a couple weeks away, CalBears.com caught up with senior outfielder Jamia Reid to reflect on her time in Berkeley. From the get go, Reid left her mark on the Golden Bear program by breaking the single-season steal record as a freshman. In 2010 as a sophomore, she catapulted her way to the All-Pac-10 first team and the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I All-Region First Team. After owning a team-high .497 slugging and 31 steals and second-best .394 batting average, Reid became an All-American. Heading into this weekend against UCLA, Reid ranks second in batting .397 with an incredible 38 steals.
NCAA Championship Q&A With Jocelyn Forest (April 9, 2012): One name that is synonymous with the California softball team's NCAA Championship is Jocelyn Forest. In the 2002 national title game, Forest threw a one-hitter as the Golden Bears defeated Arizona 6-0 to win the first NCAA women's team title in Cal school history. Forest was named the tournament's most outstanding player, completing the WCWS with a 4-0 record, 0.50 earned run average and 33 strikeouts in 28.0 innings. Forest won all eight of her 2002 NCAA postseason appearances. CalBears.com caught up with Forest - who currently lives in Santa Cruz and owns a strength and conditioning gym - to discuss the historic run in Oklahoma City.
NCAA Championship Q&A With Kelly Anderson (April 7, 2012): As a freshman in 2002, Anderson saw the majority of work in relief, finishing 7-3 in 18 appearances with a 1.46 ERA. One of her crowning moments of her first year in the Blue & Gold was when she and fellow freshman Cassie Bobrow teamed to topple then-No. 1 Arizona 5-2 when Jocelyn Forest was away from the team. Anderson went onto pitch in each of the three following WCWS.
NCAA Championship Q&A With Kristen Morley (April 6, 2012): After a recent home game, CalBears.com chatted with Kristen Morley, who was the starting right fielder for the California softball team in 2002. That year in Oklahoma City, Morley led the team in hits (4) and runs (3) to hit .333. In this Q&A, Morley relates how confident the 2002 team was that they were going to win the national championship.
Recalling the 2002 National Championship (April 5, 2012): One of the most important aspects of California softball head coach Diane Ninemire's preparations for the 2002 Women's College World Series did not involve softball. It was not a rigorous defensive drill, batting practice or even throwing. It was a team trip to the WCWS logo in center field.
Hawaiian Q&A With the Golden Bears (April 5, 2012): It seems fitting to recall the Golden Bears' trip to the picturesque shores of Hawaii as the No. 1 California softball team prepares to visit a terrain known for its chilly temperatures in Salt Lake City. From March 14-17, Cal played five tough games against top-notch competition. In between games, the Bears had the chance to explore Honolulu and spend time on the beach. CalBears.com caught up with the Bears to find out what their favorite parts of Hawaii were and how they felt about losing their first game of the year.
Walk This Way - a Guide to the Bears' Walk-Up Songs (March 29, 2012): Besides the roaring and devoted fan base that comes with playing at home at Levine-Fricke Field, one of the best parts about playing at home for the California softball team are the walk-up songs. Each of the Golden Bears select a clip of one or two songs to be played as they stride to the plate. This weekend will feature the first Pac-12 homestand and only the third chance for the Bears to have walk-up songs, so CalBears.com picked the Bears' brains to find out what their walk-up songs are and why they chose them.
Softball Sidebar - Chat With Cheyenne Cordes (March 8, 2012): CalBears.com will host a live chat via CoverItLive with California shortshop Cheyenne Cordes on Thursday, March 8, beginning at 1 p.m. PT. Fans can point their browsers to CalBears.com - the official athletic website of the University of California - and navigate to the softball home page to access the chat module and ask Cheyenne questions.
Season Preview Q&A With Diane Ninemire (Feb. 8, 2012): With the start of the heavily anticipated 2012 campaign just two days away, CalBears.com sat down with California softball head coach Diane Ninemire. Ninemire talked about offense, defense, what makes this team better than the 2002 team that won the NCAA Championship, and of course, how to get back to Oklahoma City.
Arioto Set for Long-Awaited Return to the Diamond (Feb. 6, 2012): Valerie Arioto and the California softball team are just four days away from the start of their 2012 campaign. For Arioto, this has been a year in the works after breaking her leg on the second day of practice last season. Read about Arioto's lengthy road back to softball in this feature.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Cheyenne Cordes (Feb. 4, 2012): Freshman Cheyenne Cordes returned to Berkeley after winter break with a fresh stamp in her passport after winning gold with the U.S. junior national team in South Africa this past December. During her senior season at Rodriguez High School in Fairfield, Calif., Cordes accumulated countless awards, highlighted by the California Gatorade Player of the Year, All-State First-Team, ESPN RISE and Max Preps All-State First-Team, the California Medium Schools Player of the Year, Max Preps All-American and ESPN RISE First-Team All-American. Since her softball resume is quite distinguished, CalBears.com caught up with Cordes to learn more about her as a person.
Golden Bears Chat About Cal Softball Traditions (Feb. 3, 2012): With the California softball team in its 40th year of existence, the Golden Bear program is steeped in rich history. The squad still employs certain cheers and traditions that go back years while other customs and rituals are more recent additions. CalBears.com queried the current student-athletes and coaches to find out what their favorite Cal traditions are. One crowd favorite was Ninja, a game the Bears play in which each participant has one chance to knock a teammate out of the game.
Tour Elia, Frani and Jamia's Apartment (Feb. 2, 2012): For their senior year, Elia Reid, Frani Echavarria and Jamia Reid opted to live together in an apartment located just outside of Berkeley. The senior trio kindly invited CalBears.com into their apartment for a virtual tour.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day Q&A (Feb. 1, 2012): In honor of the 26th celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and the 40th anniversary of Title IX, CalBears.com talked to members of the California softball team to find out what kind of difference playing sports made in their lives. CalBears.com also asked the Golden Bears why they thought all little girls should be given the opportunity to play sports.
Q&A With the Bears About Their Coaches (Jan. 31, 2012): Using success on the field as a marker, it's no secret that the Cal softball coaching staff continues to excel year in and year out. This past June, after garnering the attention of the nation with a trip to the Women's College World Series, the California coaching staff earned recognition from its peers as the Pacific Region coaching staff of the year. But another yard stick for measuring coaches is how they interact with their student-athletes, and head coach Diane Ninemire, assistant coaches John Reeves and Tammy Lohmann along with volunteer assistant coach Angie Jacobs are some of the best in that category. CalBears.com polled the current Golden Bears to find out why playing for the Cal coaching staff is so rewarding and what some of their favorite coaches' sayings are.
Q&A With Softball Alumna Kristina Thorson (Jan. 30, 2012): During the 2011 Golden Bears' historic run into the postseason, one name kept coming into the discussion - both as an ardent and vocal supporter of Cal softball but also as a standard by which other Bears are measured - and that was Kristina Thorson. Thorson took time away from her busy schedule to answer some questions asked by CalBears.com as well as fans on Twitter and Facebook.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Mary Lee (Jan. 29, 2012): Though freshman Mary Lee is the only one of the five freshmen to not hail from Northern California, her Cal roots run deeper than any of the other first years for she has been a Golden Bear fan for years. Lee attended her first Cal football game at age three and her first softball game - one against Stanford - at age 10, so selecting Berkeley was an easy choice for the San Diego native. As a senior at Torrey Pines High School, Lee earned the Varsity Golden Falcon Award, claimed an All-Palomar League Honorable Mention and landed on the San Diego Union-Tribune All-Academic Team. In 2010 as a junior, she was lauded with the CIF Div. I Championship Game Sportsmanship Award, Falcon Fiesta Championship Game Sportsmanship Award and All-Avocado League Honorable Mention and was on the San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic Team after leading her team to second place in San Diego Section and Avocado League championship. Lee captained her club team - Power Super 187 Gold - from 2010-11 and played at nationals in 2010 with her club. CalBears.com chatted with Lee to learn more about her.
Time-Tested Battery Mates (Jan. 27, 2012): Junior pitcher Jolene Henderson and catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt have many things in common with fellow pitchers and catchers across the country. Nonverbal communication cues, pitch signals and a familiarity that comes with throwing to the same person game after game. Henderson and Ziegenhirt have a leg - or an arm or two - up on the competition for they have been battery mates since they were seven-years-old.
USA Softball Q&A With Cheyenne Cordes (Jan. 26, 2012): While many student-athletes were spending their first half of December studying for finals and then spending time with their families, freshman Cheyenne Cordes was chasing gold in South Africa with the U.S. junior national team. At the International Softball Federation Junior Women's World Championship, the Americans defeated Japan 4-1 in the title match to secure gold and finish the tournament with a 10-1 record. In South Africa, Cordes started all 11 games and paced the U.S. squad with 15 hits, 12 RBI, 28 total bases and slugging 1.077. Cordes also spent a good chunk of her summer playing with the junior team, facing off against current teammate Valerie Arioto on several occasions. CalBears.com chatted up Cordes about the last six months with USA/ASA Softball, especially about winning gold in South Africa.
Pre-Game Rituals Q&A With the Bears (Jan. 23, 2012): What do not stepping on the chalk line, swinging the bat three times before stepping into the batter's box and putting on the left cleat before the right have in common? They're all superstitions that are commonplace in the sport of softball. CalBears.com caught up with the 2012 Golden Bears to find out about their pre-game rituals and superstitions.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Danielle Henderson (Jan. 22, 2012): For those close to the California softball program, one freshman will be a familiar face for Danielle Henderson has finally joined her big sister Jolene in Berkeley. Having attended Golden Bear softball games for years and owning a softball resume that has garnered national attention, the younger Henderson was more than suited to don the Blue & Gold. At the conclusion of her senior season at Sheldon High School in Elk Grove, Calif., Henderson had played for the No. 1 team in the country, led the Huskies to multiple CIF championships, was a three-time scholar-athlete, a three-time member of the All-Delta River League First Team and the 2011 Sacramento Bee Player of the Year. Additionally, on the club circuit, Henderson won 16U nationals and more with the Lady Magic and also played in the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game. CalBears.com caught up with Henderson to learn all things Danielle.
Q&A With Elia Reid (Jan. 21, 2012): Underneath Elia Reid's athletic 5-4 frame beats the heart of a consummate competitor. The starting right fielder for the past three years, Reid was a 2011 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention. Last year, she was fifth on the team with her .254 batting average and slugged .485 with 26 RBI and seven stolen bases. Off the field, the Buena Park, Calif., native is known as a jokester, all the while being more serious than her twin sister, Jamia Reid, who plays left field for the Golden Bears. CalBears.com caught up with Elia Reid to get all the details on her, as well as with a few of her teammates to get the real dish on Elia.
Bears Share Favorite Memories From 2011 Season (Jan. 20, 2012): The 2011 campaign for the California softball team was one of the most prolific ones in recent history. After losing star senior Valerie Arioto in the second practice of the year, the outlook may have looked bleak to the outside world, but the Golden Bears mustered a season of epic proportions. Cal took second in the Pac-12, breezed through Regional competition and won its first-ever Super Regional over an SEC school to return to the hallowed grounds of Oklahoma City. With 21 days remaining until the start of the season, CalBears.com chatted with the returning Bears about their favorite memories from the 2011 season.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Breana Kostreba (Jan. 19, 2012): Freshman Breana Kostreba is one of three freshmen who were named to the prestigious 2011 All-California Team, and CalBears.com relished the opportunity to chat with the Aptos, Calif., native. An exceptional prepster at Aptos High School, she was named 2008 MVP of the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League and to multiple Cal-Hi Sports teams as a sophomore and a junior. As a senior, was named a MaxPreps Second-Team All-American and ESPN RISE All-American, SCCAL Softball MVP of the Year and to the All-League First-Team. As the starting third baseman on nationally ranked Sorcerer 18 Gold, Kostreba's club team was the 2009 ASA 18 Gold National Champion. Further rounding out her resume, she was also involved in the award-winning Aptos High School Robotic Club.
Take a Virtual Tour of Mary Lee's Dorm Room (Jan. 18, 2012): Living in the dorms is one of the staples of freshman year for students at colleges across the country, and the University of California is no different. Freshman Mary Lee was kind enough to welcome CalBears.com into her dorm room in Berkeley for a tour.
How the Bears Spent Their Winter Break (Jan. 17, 2012): For students at the University of California, the time between the last final and the first day of classes is a wonderful span called winter break. As part of the 30-day lead into the season, CalBears.com chatted with the Golden Bears to see how they spent their winter vacation and if they have any special holiday traditions.
Bears Celebrate Holidays With Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee (Jan. 16, 2012): Before departing Berkeley to spend the winter break with their families, the California softball team spent time with an important members of its Golden Bear family - Bebe Wiggs and her family. In 2010, the Golden Bears adopted Bebe, a local child with pediatric cancer, through the Friends of Jacyln Foundation.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Nikki Owens (Jan. 14, 2012): As the California softball team prepares to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2002 national championship, it is quite fitting that one of this year's freshmen has direct ties to that team. Nikki Owens notes her biggest role model is former Golden Bear Jocelyn Forest, with whom Owens spent the past year training. Owens - who hails from Scotts Valley in the Santa Cruz mountains - only played part of her senior season at Scotts Valley High School but still went 8-4 in 74 innings of work the circle, with a 0.48 ERA and limited opposing teams to a combined .065. CalBears.com chatted with Owens to find out more about the freshman who was home schooled until eighth grade and is a full year younger than her first-year compatriots.
Thanksgiving Q&A With Cal Softball (Nov. 25, 2011): After one of the most successful seasons in recent history in 2011, the California softball team has a lot for which it is thankful. CalBears.com caught up with the Golden Bears to find out what their favorite parts of Thanksgiving - past and present - are as well as what they are thankful for this year.
2011 Season Features
Freshman Follow-Up: Q&A With Taylor Vincent (Aug. 30, 2011): CalBears.com invites you to turn back the clocks a couple months and relive the freshman season of Taylor Vincent, who is now a couple of days into her sophomore year. This past spring, Vincent was the back-up catcher - and the go-to bullpen catcher - for the California softball team, which finished fifth in the country. She batted 1.000 and saw time in three games. CalBears.com caught up with Vincent during her busy summer to get the best stories from her freshman year, including the how she spent a week in a wheelchair.
Freshman Follow-Up: Q&A With Arianna Erceg (Aug. 24, 2011): In her first year of collegiate ball in the most demanding conference, pitcher Arianna Erceg earned herself wins against two top-ranked teams. In her 47.1 innings of work, Erceg went 5-3 with two of those five victories coming against Oregon and Arizona. On the other side of the ball, she had one hit and two runs scored in five at-bats for a .200 average. CalBears.com chatted with the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., native to get the lowdown on her freshman year.
Freshman Follow-Up: Q&A With Alex Robben (Aug. 22, 2011): During her freshman campaign, Alex Robben was the consummate team player for she seamlessly fit into the California softball line-up wherever she was needed. Starting 14 games and playing in 23, Robben saw time at first base, in the outfield and as the designated player. She contributed three RBI with three hits and three walks. After a thrilling first year that saw her Golden Bears make it to the hallowed grounds of Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series, CalBears.com just had to get Robben's thoughts on the 2011 season.
Name That Future Golden Bear (Aug. 3, 2011): The student-athletes of the California softball team are easy to spot when they are wearing their Blue and Gold. The Golden Bears (and their parents) were kind enough to lend some nostalgic photos to CalBears.com so that fans can try their hand at matching the childhood photos to the current Bears. Click through the photo gallery to test your Cal softball knowledge!
Freshmen Follow-Up: Q&A With Victoria Jones (July 28, 2011): With her freshman campaign now complete and summer well underway for Victoria Jones, CalBears.com corresponded with Jones to see how her freshman year went. Working her way to becoming California's starting second baseman, Jones played in 52 of the Golden Bears' 58 games, knocking in 23 RBI and putting down a team-high six sacrifice hits. She absolutely exploded in the postseason, hitting .333 (.365 before the WCWS) with three sacrifice hits and four RBI. After the Lexington Super Regional, Jones upped her batting average to .225 from .196 thanks to her .556 hitting, slugging and on-base percentages in Lexington. CalBears.com tracked down Jones in her hometown of Oceanside, Calif., to discuss the 2011 season.
Freshmen Follow-Up: Q&A With Ashley Decker (June 12, 2011): Many months have passed since CalBears.com introduced you to the freshmen and now it's time to reconnect. Ashley Decker made quite a name for herself as a true freshman, earning a Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention after playing in 53 of Cal's 58 games, making 46 starts. Decker, who split time between second base, outfield and designated player, finished her freshman season sixth on the team in hitting at .242 and was a candidate for NFCA All-America status. CalBears.com caught up with Decker, who was at home in Sparks, Nev., to get a brief recap of her 2011 season.
Softball Sidebar - Chat With Lindsey Ziegenhirt (July 6, 2011): CalBears.com hosted a live chat via CoverItLive with California catcher Lindsey Ziegenhirt and the transcript of that chat is available to re-read here. Fans asked questions of Lindsey and she responded. Topic ranged from life as a Division I student-athlete to life on the road to the 2011 Women's College World Series and more.
Freshman Follow-Up: Q&A With Cassandra Vega (June 22, 2011): After we met the freshmen in a series of CalBears.com Q&As, it is now time to see how their freshman years faired. First up is infielder Cassandra Vega, who came to the Bears by way of Rialto, Calif. Vega played in eight games this season, hitting .667 with two RBI. Mostly serving as a pinch hitter, Vega also filled in at first base and pitched for three games. CalBears.com jumped at the opportunity to see what it was like for Vega to get one year of college and Division I softball under her belt.
Life in Oklahoma City, as Captured by ESPN (June 3, 2011): Wednesday, June 1 started out much like any other day on the road with the California softball team - breakfast at a reasonable hour, loading up the bus with equipment and driving off to a field. But it was no typical day for the Golden Bears were headed to the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium to spend an hour with ESPN and then get some practice in before the opening of the 2011 Women's College World Series the next day.
By the Numbers - Behind the Jerseys of the Bears (May 9, 2011): Softball, along with baseball, is a highly superstitious sport. Players have been known to get dressed the same way before every game, draw things in the dirt, and the list goes on seemingly forever. After CalBears.com found out the reasoning behind the Golden Bears' walk-up songs, the next logical step was to investigate the student-athletes' jersey numbers. CalBears.com caught up with the softballers to find out why they chose their numbers.
Freshman Feature - Q&A With Britt Vonk (May 5, 2011): CalBears.com is staging introductions between fans and the eight freshmen on the California softball team and this week, fans get to meet Britt Vonk. Not only is freshman shortstop Britt Vonk the team's sole foreign player, but she also played in the 2008 Olympics with the Netherlands National team. Vonk is the most current Golden Bear with Olympic experience in a distinguished line of former Bears. Named the best hitter in the 2006 Apeldoorn Softball Series and the most talented player of 2006 in Enschede. She earned recognition in 2008 as the best hitter at the Mastenbroek Tournament and awarded the Bep van Beijmerwerdt Trophy as the most talented youth Dutch player. She was also lauded as the best hitter at the 2010 International Indoor Cup, and with her club team, the Tex Town Tigers, was a two-time national champion in the division one league. Vonk could prove to be a threat on the basepaths for she was also a member of the track and field team in her hometown. After attaining her bachelor's degree, she would like to get a master's in a field relating to psychology. Her father, Theo Vonk, played professional soccer in the Netherlands, and mother, Tanja Reijerink, played professional water polo in the Netherlands and her brother plays soccer. Vonk said that her two best sports moments are making it to the Olympics in 2008 and being Dutch champions with Tex Town Tigers.
Walk This Way - A Guide to Cal's Walk-Up Songs (April 28, 2011): For anyone who has walked through the serene Strawberry Canyon on a spring afternoon, you have heard the sounds of hip-hop, country and everything in between. Those melodic bars are what are known as walk-up songs in the softball world. Each of the Golden Bears select 30 seconds of one or two songs to be played as they stride to the plate. This weekend will feature the last homestand and the last chance for the Bears to have walk-up songs, so CalBears.com picked the Bears' brains to find out what their walk-up songs are and why they chose them.
Bears Celebrate Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee (April 25, 2011): A year had transpired since the California softball team's adoptee Bebe had been out to Levine-Fricke Field. But the changes that went on during that year were monumental for the little four-year-old girl with cancer. Last year, Bebe's father, Geoff, threw out the first pitch, but Bebe was more than up to the task this year. Bebe and her family - both her parents are Cal alums - attended the game against Stanford on April 23, which was good luck for the Bears upset Stanford, 4-1.
Where Are They Now? Q&A With Julie Meyer (March 25, 2011): For the first time in six years, Julie Meyer started the softball season in a place other than Berkeley for the former Golden Bear accepted a position as an assistant coach at Memphis. Meyer made the move to the Volunteer State after serving as a volunteer assistant coach with the Bears in 2010 and the student-assistant coach in 2009. With her presence already missed in Strawberry Canyon, CalBears.com tracked down Meyer to find out what life is like in the south.
Jace Williams' Hawaiian Photo Gallery (March 23, 2011): Jace Williams shares some of her photos the Golden Bears' trip to Honolulu.
Catching Jamia Reid (March 20, 2011): With her slender 5-4 frame, Jamia Reid can come off as a diminutive college student walking the Cal campus. But on the softball diamond, Reid is anything but unthreatening. She leads the No. 9/10 California softball team in multiple categories with a .478 batting average, 49 total bases, 24 runs scored and a .731 slugging percentage all the while boasting a 1.000 fielding percentage. Combine all of that with a deadly slap and the fact that Reid is the Golden Bears' all-time leading base stealer, and you have one potent player.
Freshman Feature - Q&A With Taylor Vincent (March 11, 2011): Since there are a whopping eight freshman on the California softball team, CalBears.com helps you put the names to the faces with a series of Q&As with the freshmen. Next up is Taylor Vincent, a catcher who joins fellow Foothill High School letterwinner Valerie Arioto as the second Pleasanton, Calif., native on the squad. Vincent said that her best sports moment was storming Easton Stadium in Oklahoma City after her team won the national championship last summer. At Foothill, she was first-team All-League in 2010 and led the squad to 2007 EBAL and NCS championships not to mention an EBAL title in 2008. Vincent should adapt easily to Cal's rigorous academics for she was a North Coast Section CIF scholar-athlete from 2007-2010 and a member of the National Honor Society in 2010. Additionally, she founded and served as president of the Physics Club as a prepster, was a three-time recipient of the Falcon Pride Award and made the Principal's List every year from 2007-2010. As a completely well-rounded student-athlete, Vincent also held the office of vice president during her junior year and president as a senior.
Behind the Plate - a Q&A With the Cal Catchers (March 10, 2011): In addition to giving pitchers a target, catchers play an integral role in the success of a softball team. They offer counsel to the pitchers, often acting as a psychologist, can call pitches, serve as a vocal leader for the rest of the defense and, of course, protect the plate from approaching invaders. It can often be a thankless job in which they are left sore from squatting for hours, covered in dust and bruises, dealing with opposing batters, but it is a crucial one. CalBears.com grabbed some time with the catchers on the No. 14 California softball team to find out more about life behind the dish.
Jordan Wallace Comes Into Her Own (March 7, 2011): Making the transition from high school and club ball to Division I softball can be challenging even within the right circumstances. Factor in a knee injury and a team ripe with senior talent, breaking the starting line-up can be exceedingly difficult for a freshman. So difficult that it can test the will of even the most devoted and talented student-athletes, such was the case with sophomore Jordan Wallace. Although she was a starter up until college, she came to Berkeley without high expectations of continuing that streak because of a knee injury. But, Wallace refused to be a victim of her circumstances. Instead, she learned from them and became a better and humble player and person.
Where Are They Now? Q&A With Candace Harper (March 6, 2011): When the Golden Bears won the NCAA Championship in 2002, they could not have done it without starting third baseman Candace Harper. After taking her Bears to the championship, Harper was an NCAA Regional All-Tournament team selection as well as a member of the All-Region and All-Pac-10 second teams. Harper, a native of Stockton, Calif., was the starting third baseman for all four years and earned All-American status her senior year, when she was second on the squad with her .316 batting average, 44 RBI and .496 slugging percentage. In the first in a series of features on Cal softball alumni, CalBears.com got a couple minutes of Harper's time to find out what life as a Cal alum is like these days.
Hard Work Lifts Frani Echavarria to New Heights (March 2, 2011): When you compare Frani Echavarria's stat lines between her freshman and sophomore seasons, you would think they were produced by two different people. She went from hitting a final .193 with five RBI and 17 runs as a freshman to ending 2010 as the squad's third best hitter at .339. The onus to come back a better player for her second season lay completely on Echavarria. She took the summer in between her freshman and sophomore years to make some major self improvements.
Freshman Feature - Q&A With Cassandra Vega (Feb. 22, 2011): CalBears.com is helping you get to know the freshmen members of the California softball team, and this week's participant is Cassandra Vega. A pitcher/first baseman out of Rialo, Calif., Vega is not the first in her family to become a Bear for her uncle, David Ortega, played football for Cal. Though Vega attended Eisenhower High School for her freshman, sophomore and party of her junior year before transferring to Aquinas High School, she played varisty softball and water polo all four years. During her senior year, Vega captained the AHS squad and was named first-team All-Christian League, All-County and second team All-CIF. In 2009 and 2010, she and her high school team won the Christian League championship as well as were CIF quarterfinalists in 2010. With SoCal Spirit, she went to the 2008 Western Nationals and 18U Nationals in 2010. Vega, who shattered her knuckles during her sophomore year, hopes to attend law school.
2011 Season Preview: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Feb. 9, 2011): When discussing the 2011 California softball team, the French music duo Daft Punk aptly describes this year's Golden Bears: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. While it may seem cliché, Cal spent the summer and fall improving and working harder than ever to get to the 2011 Women's College World Series. While they lost two starters and six letterwinners to graduation, the Bears added eight incredible freshmen to the mix.
Join the Bears in the Social Media Realm (Jan. 31, 2011): This season, fans of the prestigious California softball team can get even closer to the Golden Bears - through Facebook and Twitter. Social media brings the fans closer to the teams, alerting followers to breaking news, photos and insider information.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Alex Robben (Jan. 24, 2011): CalBears.com will help you get to know a freshman on the California softball team, and this week's participant is Alex Robben. A NorCal native, Robben comes to Berkeley by way of Napa. At Napa High School, she helped her softball team to two Monticello Empire League Championships and was twice named to the All-State team and Napa County player of the year. A four-time all-MEL softball player, she also had a two-year stint on the basketball team. Alex is the second Robben child who is a collegiate softball student-athlete after her sister, Ricci, played at Wisconsin. Upon talking to Alex, one of my most notable things is that she broke her hand but was ready to practice when fall ball started.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Victoria Jones (Jan. 12, 2011): CalBears.com will help you get to know a freshman on the California softball team, and this week's participant is Victoria Jones. Jones, who can play in the infield or behind the dish, hails from Oceanside, Calif. At Vista High School, she was First Team All-Palomar League, First Team All-North County, First Team All-CIF and Most Valuable Player for her high school softball team during 2008 and 2010. Not only talented on the softball field but also on the soccer pitch, she made varsity soccer and received the award of Best Offensive Player her sophomore and senior years and notes that her best sports moment was traveling to Italy and Sweden to play soccer in the Gothia Cup. Athletics runs in the Jones family as Victoria's grandfather played professional baseball with the Boston Braves. After chatting with LaRisa Jones, CalBears.com caught up with the other Jones, who has attended ASA national championships every year from 2003-10.
1,014 and Counting: Ninemire Continues to Grow the Golden Bear Program (Dec. 15, 2010): Last season, Diane Ninemire reached a pinnacle that few coaches have achieved. On April 7, 2010, California's softball head coach Ninemire won her 1,000th career game, with every victory being for the benefit of the Blue and Gold.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With LaRisa Jones (Nov. 19, 2010): Each week, CalBears.com will help you get to know a freshman on the California softball team, and this week's participant is LaRisa Jones. A local product hailing from Concord, Calif., Jones is a left-bating, 5-4 outfielder. She was named the MVP of her Clayton Valley High School team as well as All-DVAL. A member of the 4.0 Club, Jones also played varsity gold and still found time to attend 14U, 16U and 18U Gold Nationals. In her spare time, Jones hand paints designs on shoes and is contemplating the Peace Corps or culinary school following Cal. She was coached and mentored by former Golden Bears, whom she credits as one of the first things that drew her to Cal.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Arianna Erceg (Nov. 1, 2010): Each week, CalBears.com will help you get to know a freshman on the California softball team, and this week's participant is Arianna Erceg. A complete right-handed pitcher/first baseman, Erceg hails from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Erceg led her Palos Verdes High School team to Bay League Championships in 2009 and 2010, earning league MVP honors in the same years. In 2010, she had repeat All-Bay League and All-Area honors and landed on the 2010 All-CIF team and All-State steam. In addition to excelling on the field, Erceg was a four-year member of the school's AVID program and was a CSF member. With the Orange County Batbusters 18 Gold, took third place at the 2010 ESPN Rise Premier Nationals. She noted that her best sports moment was hitting a walk-off homerun in the playoffs of her senior season.
Freshman Feature: Q&A With Ashley Decker (Oct. 25, 2010): Each week, CalBears.com will help you get to know a freshman on the California softball team, and this week's participant is Ashley Decker. Decker, who bats left and throws right, can fill in for the Bears at second or in the outfield. In each of her four years as a prepster at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks, Nev., Decker was named to the first-team all-state and all-league, winning three Nevada state championships. She lists playing in the Under Armour All-American game during her sophomore and senior years as her best sports moments to date. Decker, who has been playing ASA ball since age 10 in 2003, took fifth place at the 2010 18 Gold Premier Nationals with Sorcerer Gold.
Q&A With Jamia Reid (Aug. 23, 2010): While many Cal students were lounging by the pool, taking summer school or interning, junior Jamia Reid was busy on the field. Reid played with the U.S. Futures national team for several games. Most recently, Reid and Cal teammate Valerie Arioto traveled to Japan for the Japan Cup, which the U.S. delegation won. Upon her return to the States, CalBears.com caught up with Reid to find out what that trip was like.
2010 Season Features
Senior Q&A With Vernae Sevilla (July 13, 2010): From the start, senior infielder Vernae Sevilla has made an impact on the Cal softball team, earning Pac-10 honorable-mention status her freshman year after hitting .241 with 23 RBI and seven doubles. Sevilla missed an early portion of the 2008 season due to injury, but she had a career-best three hits and a career-high four RBI to open the season. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., native finished the 2009 season racking up 15 runs and 35 hits. A key player at the hot corner, Sevilla contributed 18 RBI this season, 21 putouts and 90 assists. The 5-7 righty is majoring in sociology.
Catching Up With the Freshmen - Q&A With Jayme Goodwin (June 18, 2010): Freshman Jayme Goodwin came to the Bears by way of nearby Dublin, Calif., with the expectation that she would be a threat on the base paths after excelling as a track prepster. Threaten the opposition she did in 10 appearances, primarily as a baserunner with a stint at third base. In her first year in the Cal uniform, Goodwin scored four runs. CalBears.com recently caught up with the 5-8 utility to see how her freshman campaign went - in the classroom as well as on and off the diamond.
Senior Q&A With Taylor Kelly (June 14, 2010): Taylor Kelly has played in at least 50 games in each of her four years in a Golden Bear uniform. As a freshman, Kelly had 15 RBI and scored two runs in the Tuscaloosa Regional. As a sophomore in 2008, Kelly made 47 starts and went a perfect 3-for-3 with a run against Fresno State at the Regional Championships. Last year, the Santee, Calif., native was fourth on the team with six homers and has jacked out three this season. Kelly will graduate this fall with a degree in gender and women's studies.
Senior Q&A With Shannon Houston (June 7, 2010): Senior outfielder Shannon Houston came to Berkeley by way of New Egypt, N.J. During her freshman year in 2007, Houston was utilized primarily as a pinch runner, scoring 22 runs and recording 12 stolen bases. As a sophomore, she tallied her first career grand slam and, in 2009, she finished the year with 38 appearances and 16 starts. As a senior, Shannon has tallied six hits and stole two bases for the Bears. Houston will graduate this summer with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, with hopes for a career in marketing or event planning.
On the Road With the Bears (May 29, 2010): The No. 11-seeded California softball team has been on the road since Wednesday, making stops Arizona, Ohio and now Georgia. Here is a look into what the past week or so has been like for the Golden Bears.
Postseason Q&A With Taylor Kelly (May 27, 2010): After practice on Thursday, CalBears.com caught up with the California softball team's starting shortstop senior Taylor Kelly. Kelly, a seasoned veteran of the postseason, has been to the NCAA Tournament in each of her four years with the Golden Bears. Before the Bears went to dinner as a team, CalBears.com discussed all things postseason with the Santee, Calif., native.
Senior Q&A With Marissa Drewrey (May 14, 2010): Senior pitcher Marissa Drewrey has been a fixture in the circle for the past four years. Thanks to her 20 strikeouts, which she achieved halfway through the 2010 season, Drewrey moved into fifth place on the all-time strikeout list with 644 career Ks at Cal. In 2009, she was third in the Pac-10 with 241 strikeouts, fourth with a 2.14 ERA and fifth in opposing batting average (.212). Drewrey was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection and made the NFCA All-Pacific Region second team in 2008 after posting a 29-19 record. During her freshman year in 2007, she finished with an 11-8 overall record. Hailing from Oakdale, Calif., Drewrey will graduate from Cal with a degree in art practice this fall.
Q&A With Diane Ninemire (May 6, 2010): With a two-game winning streak thanks to an 8-0 mercy victory over then-No. 3 Arizona on May 2 and a 7-0 win at Saint Mary's on Saturday, the No. 15/13 California softball team heads south for three games at No. 6/5 UCLA (36-9/10-5 Pac-10). The Bears and Bruins will battle on Friday, May 7 at 7 p.m. with the next game on Saturday, May 8 scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The two schools will close out the weekend on Sunday with a noon first pitch. The Southern California branch of the University of California holds a 76-21 all-time program record against Cal. The Bruins won the last meeting between the two squads, 2-1, on March 7, 2009. CalBears.com caught up with Cal softball head coach Diane Ninemire to get her thoughts on the upcoming weekend for the Bears.
Cal Softball Honors Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee (May 5, 2010): Before the then-No. 16/13 California softball team upset then No-3 Arizona, 8-0, on May 2, the Golden Bears took time to give back to their community. Through the Friends of Jacyln Foundation, the Cal softball team has adopted Bebe, a local child with pediatric cancer. The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ) is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families.
The Road to 1,000: The 2002 National Championship: One of the most important aspects of California softball head coach Diane Ninemire's preparations for the 2002 Women's College World Series did not involve softball. It was not a rigorous defensive drill, batting practice or even throwing. It was a team trip to the WCWS logo in center field. It was there that Ninemire, who had just guided the Golden Bears to their fourth straight trip to the hallowed grounds of Oklahoma City, read to the Bears. She did not draw upon famous quotes or a story of Cal yore. Instead, in her hands, she had a story published in the local Oklahoma newspaper.
The Road to 1000: Cal vs. Fresno State - May 19, 1996: When asked which of the games in her career at the helm of the California softball team stick out most in her mind, head coach Diane Ninemire sits back and rifles through countless innings of Golden Bear softball. With only two wins to go until she reaches the 1000-win platform, Ninemire, who is in her 23rd year at the helm, has to think for a moment before coming to a decision. She has plenty from which to choose - from the 2002 World Series Championship to any of the nine trips to the Women's College World Series that she has guided the Bears to the 998 wins and 483 losses.
Video Q&A With Frani Echavarria (March 24, 2010): Highlighted this week on CalBears.com is sophomore outfielder Frani Echavarria in a video Q&A with CalBears.com. As of March 21, Echavarria has started 28 of Cal's 29 games and is fifth on the squad, batting .341with five doubles and 16 RBI. The 5-6 left-handed batter is the first person in her family, which resides in Riverside, Calif., to attend college. CalBears.com chatted with Echavarria in this Q&A about that, what makes the sport of softball unique as well as her career ambitions to join the FBI.
Feature: Sati Houston Engineers Softball, Academic Success (March 8, 2010): For Sati Houston, the California softball team winning the 2002 Women's College World Series was not just something she watched on the television. Little did she know that when she and her family gathered around the television to watch the Golden Bears capture the first national team title for a women's team in Cal history, she would strive for the same thing eight years down the line. Prior to the 2008-09 school year, Houston achieved a life-long dream by walking on to the California softball team, but she did not take the usual roads to collegiate athletics.
Video Q&A With Jace Williams (March 1, 2010): Sophomore infielder Jace Williams is this week's star of Q&A With the Golden Bears - which is in video form this week. On the sidebar of the softball home page, Jace tells us what it's like to go from the small beach town of Encinitas, Calif., to the Bay Area, how she's talented outside of softball in soccer and art, as well as what the best part is about the Cal coaching team.
Q&A With Marissa Drewrey (Feb. 22, 2010): Standing in a 6-3, senior pitcher Marissa Drewrey is a formidable force in the circle for the No. 11/12 California softball team. Hailing from Oakdale, Calif., in the central valley, Drewrey easily transitioned into life in Berkeley, a city remarkably different than her hometown. CalBears.com chatted with Drewrey to find out more about her, including how she gave up fast food for an entire year.
Meet the Softball Freshman Class Q&A - Jordan Wallace (Feb. 17, 2010): Going away to college for California softball freshman Jordan Wallace entailed a 40-minute car ride down the freeway. A product of Fairfield, Wallace was a multiple all-league performer and was selected as the MVP of the Monticello Empire League in 2007. She was also co-MVP in 2006. Wallace earned all-state honors twice, including a first-team nod for the 2008 season when she hit a league-leading .461 with six home runs, 23 RBIs and 36 runs scored after batting .477 and hitting nine homers as a sophomore. She was a member of the Sorcerer's 18 Gold (ASA), and helped her team to a 13th-place finish at the 2008 Nationals. Wallace also earned several accolades in volleyball, including all-league honors for the Fairfield Falcons. Her father, Melvin, is a former player with the San Diego Chargers.CalBears.com caught up with Wallace to learn about her first months in college, life off the diamond and more.
Q&A With Amy Bishop (Feb. 10, 2010): As the California softball team gears up for its challenging and promising 2010 campaign, sophomore infielder Amy Bishop is quite the example of a talented student-athlete. When's she's not practicing with the No. 11/12 squad in the country at Levine-Fricke Field, she's in class or volunteering her time as a member of the Cal's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. A Southern California native hailing from Glendale, Bishop has made a smooth transition into life in Berkeley. CalBears.com snagged a moment of the 5-8 righty's time to chat about all things Amy.
Meet the Softball Freshman Class Q&A - Jayme Goodwin (Jan. 14, 2010): Freshman Jayme Goodwin, a 5-8 utility player hailing from Dublin, Calif., is new to the world of competitive softball. Goodwin played basketball and ran track for four years at Dublin High School, and took her teams to North Coast Sections twice with track and thrice with basketball. Breaking her high school team's 4X4 record, Goodwin is a gifted sprinter and will be a threat for the Bears on the basepaths. She was an all-league honorable mention in 2007 as well as defensive player of the year in 2009 and a member of the national high school honor society. Her uncle, Tom Goodwin, played professional baseball from 1995-2004 with the Royals, Dodgers, Rangers, Rockies, Giants and Cubs. Her father, Hugh, and aunt attended Cal while her mother, Cheryl, went to UCLA, where her father went to law school. Goodwin aspires to be a doctor or lawyer after her time at Cal. CalBears.com caught up with Goodwin to learn about her first months in college, life off the diamond and more.
Meet the Softball Freshman Class Q&A - Diane Leider (Jan. 4, 2010): Growing up in Long Beach, Calif., freshman infielder/utility Diane Leider is this year's freshman class' only recruit from Southern California. Leider was her squad's 2009 and 2008 defensive player of the year at Lakewood High School and was a three-time all-league second-team selection. Helping her team to three years as Moore League champions, the Lancers reached the CIF semifinals her senior year and the quarterfinals during her junior and sophomore seasons. A four-year varsity soccer player at Lakewood High School, Leider is also talented in the classroom, graduating with high honors and a 3.97 grade-point average. Leider's uncle, Richard, and a cousin, Megan, also attended Cal. Parents are Leo and Rossana Leider. Leider lists working in sports marketing or becoming a doctor as two possible career options. CalBears.com caught up with Leider to learn about her first months in college, life off the diamond and more.
Meet the Softball Freshman Class Q&A - Jolene Henderson (Dec. 4, 2009): Freshman Jolene Henderson is a 5-8 right-handed pitcher out of Elk Grove, Calif. With countless accolades on her athletic resume, Henderson led her Sheldon High School team to section championships in 2007 and 2008 and to a second-place section finish in 2009. Thrice named first-team all-league and twice named MVP of her league, Henderson was also an ESPN/Under Armor All-American in 2008 and 2009 and started with on the varsity squad since her sophomore year. Off the field, Henderson was involved with her school's Biotech Academy, was a 2009 senior scholar athlete and lauded with the 2009 Marine Corps Poise Leadership athletic award and Sheldon HS Sportsmanship award. Following graduation from Cal, Henderson, who attended Sheldon HS with fellow freshman Lindsey Ziegenhirt, hopes to become involved in the business world, play professionally or to become a college coach. Parents are Joe and Mickey Henderson, both of whom attended Idaho State and her father, Joe, played football there. CalBears.com caught up with Henderson to learn about her first months in college, life off the diamond and more.
Meet the Softball Freshman Class Q&A - Lindsey Ziegenhirt (Nov. 25, 2009): Freshman Lindsey Ziegenhirt joins the California softball team as a catcher from Elk Grove, Calif. Along with fellow freshman Jolene Henderson, Ziegenhirt was a member of the Sheldon High School team that won its section in 2007 and 2008 and was runner-up in 2009. A three-time all-league first-team member, Ziegenhirt was also a two-time ESPN/Under-Armor First-Team All-American (2008, 2009) and a 2008 EA Sports All-America second teamer. In addition to sporting her school colors on the field, Ziegenhirt was very involved at Sheldon High School in the Biotech Academy, the Athletic Counsel and a spirit club. In Berkeley, Lindsey is reunited her sister, Katie, who is in her fourth year at Cal. Parents are Bob and Laura, who played softball as an undergrad at Pacific. CalBears.com caught up with Ziegenhirt to learn about her first months in college, life off the diamond and more.