The women’s softball team begins their season with a new head coach, a strong returning core of seniors and a primarily freshman pitching staff.
Head Coach Liz Yandall took the reigns from retired coach Tim Hill after he retired in 2014. Yandall previously served as the assistant coach under Coach Hill in 2013 and also worked as the recruiting coordinator. This season, Yandall will be tasked with head coaching duties as well as fostering and building the junior varsity program
The team has many returning players led by seniors Kylee Oshiro, Kaitlyn Shikada and Kiera Melton. Coach Yandall said she believes the strong returning core is a vital aspect for a successful season.
“Our returning core are all really great and obviously eyes are on our seniors, which is really going to be key for us,” said Yandall of the team.
Another important part will be the pitching staff. With only one holdover from last year’s staff, the bulk of the workload in the circle will be given to incoming freshmen. Junior Marissa Reichard and Junior transfer Jessica Hotaling headline the young pitching staff.
“The position the freshmen will be the most key in is pitching,” Yandall said. “The freshmen overall have been doing a great job in stepping in and competing with our returners and pushing them to be better.”
The team began their season with a six game stretch in Hawaii between Feb. 12 and Feb 15. They won the first two games of the road trip against the Chaminade Silverswords, routing the Silverswords 12-5 and 15-4. The Boxers split the remaining games of the road trip, losing a close doubleheader to Brigham Young University Hawaii (L 3-4 9 innings, L 1-3) and splitting a doubleheader with Hawaii Pacific (L 3-4, W 5-4).
The Boxers returned home for an eight game home stand and promptly won their next four games, sweeping doubleheaders against Northwest Christian (W 7-2, W 7-4) and Northwest University (Wash. W 3-2, W 5-2). Their current five game winning streak saw a strong performance from Reichard, who sat out last season due to an injury. Reichard was named Northwest Conference Softball Pitching Student-Athlete of the Week, earning two victories and posting a 0.53 earned run average in 12 innings of work.
The team will travel to Willamette University in March 23 for a double-header at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. The next day, they will face off against Linfield College at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.