Cal Softball's 30-Day Countdown to the 2012 Season
During the 30 days leading up to the first game of California softball's 2012 campaign, CalBears.com will be posting a multitude of releases and features. Below are all the features and releases.
T-Minus 2 Days (Feb. 8): Season Preview Q&A With Diane Ninemire - 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.
T-Minus 3 Days (Feb. 7): No. 3/4 Cal Heads to Desert to Start Season - After seven longs months, the California softball team takes the field this Friday in Tempe, Ariz., to begin the 2012 campaign for a national title. At Arizona State's annual Kajikawa Classic, the No. 3/4 Golden Bears take on No. 9/14 Tennessee, Bradley, Texas State and Syracuse.
T-Minus 4 Days (Feb. 6): Arioto Set for Long-Awaited Return to the Diamond - 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.
T-Minus 5 Days (Feb. 5): Save the Date for 2002 NCAA Title Celebration - Fans, former Golden Bears and their families are invited to save the date for a California softball alumni weekend and special reunion event honoring the 2002 national championship on Saturday, April 14.
T-Minus 6 Days (Feb. 4): Freshman Feature: Q&A With Cheyenne Cordes - 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.
T-Minus 7 Days (Feb. 3): Golden Bears Chat About Cal Softball Traditions - 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.
T-Minus 8 Days (Feb. 2): Tour Elia, Frani and Jamia's Apartment - 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.
T-Minus 9 Days (Feb. 1): National Girls and Women in Sports Day Q&A - 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.
T-Minus 9 Days (Feb. 1): Three Bears Named to Player of the Year Watch List - Though they have yet to play in a game this year, three Golden Bears were named to softball's most prestigious watch list for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. The Amateur Softball Association placed Valerie Arioto, Jolene Henderson and Jamia Reid on its top-50 list, ASA announced Wednesday.
T-Minus 10 Days (Jan. 31): Q&A With the Bears About Their Coaches - 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.
T-Minus 11 Days (Jan. 30): Q&A With Softball Alumna Kristina Thorson - 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.
T-Minus 12 Days (Jan. 29): Freshman Feature: Q&A With Mary Lee - 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.
T-Minus 14 Days (Jan. 27): Time-Tested Battery Mates - 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.
T-Minus 15 Days (Jan. 26): USA Softball Q&A With Cheyenne Cordes - 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.
T-Minus 16 Days (Jan. 25): Pac-12 Softball Coaches Envision Cal to Finish Second - The Pac-12 coaches forecasted California softball to finish second in the prestigious conference according to the preseason poll released Wednesday. The Golden Bears received two first-place votes and 58 total points to take second in the preseason poll, marking the highest predicted finish since 2005.
T-Minus 17 Days (Jan. 24): Preseason Rankings Rate Cal Softball as No. 3/4 - After finishing the 2011 campaign as the No. 5 team in the country according to both polls and the final Women's College World Series standings, the California softball team starts 2012 as the third and fourth best teams, according to the preseason rankings released Tuesday.
T-Minus 18 Days (Jan. 23): Pre-Game Rituals Q&A With the Bears - 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.
T-Minus 19 Days (Jan. 22): Freshman Feature: Q&A With Danielle Henderson - 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.
T-Minus 20 Days (Jan. 21): Q&A With Elia Reid - 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.
T-Minus 21 Days (Jan. 20): Bears Share Favorite Memories From 2011 Season - 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.
T-Minus 22 Days (Jan. 19): Freshman Feature: Q&A With Breana Kostreba - 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.
T-Minus 23 Days (Jan. 18): Take a Virtual Tour of Mary Lee's Dorm Room - 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.
T-Minus 24 Days (Jan. 17): How the Bears Spent Their Winter Break - 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.
T-Minus 25 Days (Jan. 16): Bears Celebrate Holidays With Friends of Jaclyn Adoptee - 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.
T-Minus 26 Days (Jan. 15): Be a Bat Girl for the Golden Bears -The California Softball program is inviting girls (elementary through middle school) to be designated bat girls for the 2021 season at Levine-Fricke Field. Due to NCAA restrictions, those that have started high school are not eligible to be a bat girl.
T-Minus 27 Days (Jan. 14): Freshman Feature: Q&A With Nikki Owens- 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.
T-Minus 28 Days (Jan. 13): Meet the Bears Thursday at Women's Basketball- Come meet the 2012 California softball team and get autographs from your favorite Golden Bears on Thursday, Jan. 19 prior to the Cal women's basketball game versus Washington.
T-Minus 29 Days (Jan. 12): USA Softball Lauds Cordes as Junior of the Year- Freshman Cheyenne Cordes joined an elite group of people when USA Softball and the Amateur Softball Association recognized her as the Athlete of the Year from the Junior Women's National Team program.
T-Minus 30 Days (Jan. 11): Golden Bears Begin Spring Practice- With exactly 30 days standing between the California softball team and the first pitch of the 2012 campaign, spring practice got underway in serene Strawberry Canyon on Wednesday.
T-Minus 30 Days (Jan. 11): ASA/USA Softball Names Arioto to National Squad - California senior Valerie Arioto earned herself a spot on the 2012 USA Softball Women's National Team, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced Wednesday. The squad will compete at the International Softball Federation (ISF) Women's World Championship, following a 2012 USA Softball Women's National Team and USA Softball Women's Elite National Team Selection Camp in June.