THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Eleven Regals return to the diamond for the 2017 campaign and the experienced upperclassmen will be joined by six freshmen as the Cal Lutheran softball team has high hopes of improving on past seasons and returning to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament come May.
An enthusiastic and focused group features four seniors and seven juniors who bring the familiarity of the conference and collegiate softball to the new energetic group as they transition to the scene. The culture is a positive one and the depth and athleticism are stronger than they have been in years past, which will hopefully aid in producing much success.
In her 15th year at the helm of the Regals, Debby Day is confident in her pitching staff with three freshmen joining the mix and a regular focus on defense will be strengths for the team.
The four-year duo of Amanda Lewis and Courtney Sooy will provide guidance as leaders while the Nicole White-Madolora will return to the circle and Emily Manwell will serve as the designated player.
Sooy has worked her way onto numerous CLU Top-10 career lists for the softball program from the rubber. She enters her final campaign fifth in strikeouts (221), sixth in innings pitched (414.1) and complete games (49), seventh for wins (34), and eighth in appearances (76) with the opportunity to climb in all five areas. She could finish her career as just the second player to throw more than 500 innings for the Regals. Additionally, Sooy aided her own cause at the plate with a .241 batting average that included nine RBIs and seven runs after stealing four bases and doubling three times.
During her three seasons, Lewis has steadily improved and developed into a league threat, earning Second Team All-SCIAC honors a year ago after starting all 39 games. She notched a .345 batting average, the highest returning average on the squad, and led the Violet and Gold with a .429 on base percentage, 14 walks and 11 doubles, which ties her for eighth in a single-season at Cal Lutheran. Roaming the outfield, Lewis recorded 69 putouts and had three assists from left field. She holds a career .345 batting average with 82 hits including 22 doubles, 34 RBIs, 20 walks and 42 runs.
In her first year on the roster, White-Madolora made 16 starts and earned four wins in 87.1 innings of work. Manwell, who will graduate in just three years, is staged to have a breakout year after playing in nine games last spring and seven in her debut season.
The junior class is comprised of seven with Alyssa Anderson, Abbigael Howard, Olivia Leyva, Mikaela Mayhew, Makenna Pellerin, Antonia Rapisardi and Jacy Watanabe all set to contribute.
A two-sport athlete for Cal Lutheran, Leyva returns as an All-SCIAC recipient in both soccer and softball and will be the ultimate utility player for the Regals this year having played third base, first base, the outfield and as the designated player during her two seasons to date. Last spring Leyva tallied a .536 slugging percentage with seven doubles and three homeruns in 27 hits while scoring 13 times. She has a career .321 batting average with 68 hits (13-2B, 2-3B, 4-HR), 34 RBIs and 41 runs. In 2017, Leyva will be the starting third baseman.
Another multi-faceted player, Watanabe has roamed the outfield and played at the hot corner for the Violet and Gold during her career. She finished with 25 putouts and 25 assists a year ago and scored 11 runs. Mayhew, Pellerin and Rapisardi have all spent time in the middle infield for the Regals and will continue to do so this spring. Mayhew had a breakout sophomore season, hitting at a .321 clip with 26 hits, 10 RBIs and 13 runs while producing a .967 fielding percentage with 99 putouts and 48 assists at second base in 33 starts. Rapisardi started 33 games at shortstop and notched 56 putouts and 83 assists for a .939 fielding percentage, adding a team-high 12 sacrifices with 20 hits, seven RBIs and four runs. Mayhew and Rapisardi took part in four and six double plays, respectively. Pellerin filled in at both spots during the 2016 season and turned in 12 assists and four putouts and at the plate collected six hits, scored six times and drove in a pair. She will transition over to first base for her junior season.
Behind the plate, Howard will assume an increased role after splitting time last season and earning 18 starts. She finished with 29 putouts and 10 assists and threw out five would-be-base-stealers a year ago. In the circle, Anderson appeared in five games, tossing 8.2 innings for the Regals in 2016.
Joining the collegiate ranks for the first time and vying for playing time are a half a dozen freshmen in Lexie Findley (Oak Harbor, Wash.), Kendall Marinesi (Santee, Calif.), Olivia Serrano (Oxnard, Calif.), Sierra Scali (Yucca Valley, Calif.), Catherine Slabaugh (Davis, Calif.) and Brittany Workman (Canyon Country, Calif.).
The 2017 season officially gets underway with a home doubleheader on Thursday, Feb. 9 against Whitworth (Wash.) with first pitch scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Hutton Field.
Roster: 2017 Regals
Schedule: 2017 Softball
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