Feb. 7, 2013
BERKELEY - The No. 3/3 California softball team begins its 2013 campaign with an annual trip to the desert for the 2013 Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State Feb. 8-10 in Tempe, Ariz. The Golden Bears will face four opponents during the tournament, beginning with Kentucky at ASU's Farrington Stadium at 10:30 a.m. PT Friday.
Cal's tournament matchups also include Cal State Northridge at 1:30 p.m. and No. 14/15 Florida at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and Indiana at 10 a.m. Sunday, all at the Tempe Sports Complex. The Bears have earned 10 or more runs in the last five of seven season openers, downing Tennessee 13-5 in its first game at the Kajikawa Classic in 2012.
"We're playing great teams this weekend - teams that we need to be able to beat to do well in the Pac-12 this season," said Cal head coach Diane Ninemire. "A few wins against them will put us on track to be where we need to be."
Earlier this week, Pac-12 coaches tabbed Cal to repeat as conference champions. The Bears return six position starters and 12 letterwinners, including Cal all-time batting average leader junior Britt Vonk (.380) and sophomore Breana Kostreba, named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team in 2012. Pitcher Jolene Henderson is 78-12 in the circle through the past two seasons, finishing 2012 with a 38-4 record with 1.29 ERA and 332 strikeouts. The senior was named to the ESPN Preseason All-America Softball Team and holds a Top 50 spot on the Amateur Softball Association's USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.
This season's lineup will also feature the debut of five freshmen - Vanessa Alvarez, Khala Taylor, Jasmin Mejia, Taylor Lee and Nisa Ontiveros. Taylor was a standout track athlete in Temecula, Calif. and will provide the Bears with plenty of speed along with a powerful hit. Ontiveros is a powerful pitcher who is expected to make an immediate contribution in the circle with her great ball movement.
"We have a handful of great freshmen and we're excited to see what they can do, and we'll give them room to grow and give them good leadership so they can grow," Ninemire said.
In 2012, the Bears earned a program-record 58 wins, claimed the Pac-12 title and advanced to the Women's College World Series before dropping games to Oklahoma and eventual NCAA Champion Alabama.
Follow Cal Softball on Twitter and Facebook for updates and play-by-play throughout opening weekend.
California Versus its Kajikawa Opponents Date Opponent Location Series Notes Feb. 8 Kentucky Farrington Stadium Cal leads series 4-1 Feb. 9 CSU Northridge Tempe Sports Complex NW Cal leads series 12-8 Feb. 9 No. 14/15 Florida Tempe Sports Complex NE Florida leads series 3-6 Feb. 10 Indiana Tempe Sports Complex NW Cal leads series 5-0