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Stanislaus softball has ‘unfinished business’ after falling short in 2009

Stanislaus softball has ‘unfinished business’ after falling short in 2009

Cal State Stanislaus outfielder Brittany Balanesi fills in as a pitcher at a recent practice leading to today's nonconference doubleheader against Academy of Art at 1 p.m. at Warrior Softball Field.


POSTED February 2, 2010 10:59 p.m.
Hearts were broken and hopes were dashed in a city called St. George in Utah, where the Cal State Stanislaus softball players ended their 2009 season.
No national tournament.
It was a bittersweet end for the Warriors, who went all the way to the NCAA Division II Super Regionals but were stunned by Dixie State to complete a 35-21 season. The 2010 group, however, hasn’t forgotten about what happened.
“I feel like we have some unfinished business,” pitcher/first baseman Jennifer Arnold said.
Despite losing six seniors to graduation, including five starters, the Warriors have high hopes this season — once again. They’ve proven that they’re one of the most dangerous programs in the country, evident by the fact that they have found themselves making deep postseason runs lately.
In 2007, the Warriors won the NCAA West Regional championship and advanced to the National Tournament for the first time.
Another miracle run awaits, though Stanislaus knows that’s a long time from now. First, the Warriors will play a nonconference doubleheader against Academy of Art at 1 p.m. today at Warrior Softball Field — which is newly resurfaced — before hosting the Mizuno Best of the West Invitational at Pedretti Park starting on Friday.
California Collegiate Athletic Association action begins Feb. 12, when Cal State Monterey Bay visits for the first of two doubleheaders that weekend.
Jan Schefkowitz is back for her 18th season as the Stanislaus coach, and she said she’s not “rebuilding, but reloading” her program this time. That means she’ll welcome new talent after last year’s team finished at No. 15 in the NFCA Top 25.
“We have a lot young players in important places and they’re doing well,” she said, “so we’ll see where we go.”
Gone are players like Jessica Gaumnitz and Meghan Franksen, as both were all-region players before ending stellar four-year careers last spring. Other losses include outfielders Alyssa Guzman, Britney Borba and Kimiko Wright. Gaumnitz and Guzman haven’t exactly left, as they will serve as team managers this season.
But the Warriors expect to find success in a number of newcomers, including catcher/utility player Missy Corral (Modesto Junior College), infielder Sarah Locamini (Gavilan College) and outfielder C.C. Carlos (UM Eastern Shores). The leader, though, is Arnold, the senior who feels like the Warriors still have some unfinished work to do. She earned all-region honors last season and is considered the team’s top player in the circle after posting a 13-9 record with a 2.54 ERA and batting average of .324 with seven homeruns.
Other key returners are infielder Erica McIntyre, second baseman Nikky Rissetto, outfielder Brittany Balanesi and pitcher Stacey Hains, who was injured last season but will play a crucial role this time. Those players remember the heartbreak of 2009.
“We did lose a lot of crucial seniors last year,” Arnold said, “but we have a lot of good people coming in this year and a lot of returners. So we’re not really worried. Our defense is pretty solid this year and our bats are really good. The way we’ve been practicing, we’ve been really focusing on hitting. And that’s what we need to win.
“We’re prepared this year.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.
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